Arduino Sensors | How to Connect the World to You

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Interacting with technology has become a standard day-to day-activity for nearly everyone on the planet, sometimes whether they realize it or not. Often times, however, we care more about how technology interacts with us and tend to look past how we and the environment interact with it. If you plan on developing a prototype of just about any modern day consumer product, sensors are nearly guaranteed to be a staple of that prototype and final product.

Human Machine Interface (HMI)

Whether you are analyzing heartbeat, using a touch screen, or simply detecting motion, interfacing with a machine allows humans to utilize technology in ways that were never thought possible. Solutions to connect humans to machines get more creative every day. To get a better understanding of how to implement HMI sensors in your design, we recommend several products as a first start.

Finger Print Sensor

Finger print sensors are the hero of the biometric scanning world, and rightfully so. This Arduino-compatible fingerprint sensor is extremely unique, because it is a module that does all of the difficult image rendering, calculation, feature-finding, searching, and storage on board. This means that actually using it is extremely simple. Adafruit even took the liberty of writing a full Arduino library that helps you right out of the gate, making biometric authentication in your prototypes extremely fast.  This finger print sensor is also one of the most secure that you can buy, because it has a false acceptance rate of less than 0.001%.

MyoWare Muscle Sensor

If you’re looking for a muscle sensor for you prototype, this sensor is one of the particularly unique sensors on the market for Arduino-compatibility, especially considering affordable EMG equipment has only been available within the last decade. This muscle sensor module is easy to use and is capable of measuring muscle activation via electric potential, which is referred to as electromyography (EMG). This sensor can be used for a wide variety of applications, whether you are piecing together a DAQ unit for a physiology related project, interpreting sign language, or just wanting to control a DIY light with the simple flex of your favorite muscle. Keep in mind, you will also need at least three electrodes to operate this sensor functionally.

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Muscle Sensor | 2699

Adafruit Industries Sensor Development Boards and Kits View

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Adafruit Industries Specialized Sensors View

Pulse Sensor Amped

If you are interested in creating a prototype heart-beat visualizing tool, stethoscope, or just seeing heart rate data for fun, this sensor can prove extremely useful. This sensor module integrates noise-cancellation circuitry and features hear rate signal amplification, which makes it fast and easy to get pulse readings. There is no soldering required to use this sensor module — you can simply plug it into your Arduino or Arduino-compatible device. The creators of this module have even included processing visualization software and Arduino code to help you get your sensor interfacing very quickly.

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Adafruit Industries Specialized Sensors View

Resistive Touch Screen

Brought to us by Adafruit, this basic 3.7 inch (95mm) resistive touch screen is very diverse and can be used in all sorts of applications. Whether you want to use it to control an LED light strip with a few simple gestures and an Arduino, or to use this touch screen as a makeshift stylus for your laptop, this resistive touch screen will certainly give you appreciation for how your touch-friendly devices actually work and how humans actually interface with those sorts of machines. We recommend looking at this application note for more details, but the point of resistive touch sensors like this one is that they act almost as a pair of potentiometers.  When a conductive point touches the screen, it creates a connection between the conductive point and all four edges of the screen. With a bit of axis orientation and creativity, it is possible to measure the resistivity between the conductive point and the X axis and Y axis independently, much like two linear potentiometers. If you’re interested in using this touch display with a computer, we also recommend using this touch to USB converter which is a plug-and-play device. 

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Adafruit Industries LCD Touch Screens View

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Adafruit Industries Development Kits and Tools View

Capacitive Touch Sensor

This standalone toggle capacitive touch sensor breakout board module, based on the AT42QT1012 touch screen controller from Microchip, is actually a digital burst mode charge-transfer sensor designed specifically for touch controls. This capacitive touch sensor module is customizable, which makes it very nice for prototyping.  The default use case for this sensor is a toggle-on and toggle-off configuration, all of which is noted by an on-board LED to show status.  With a bit of trace management, you can save power by cutting the LED trace as well as change default module settings. The module was designed to act on an infinite timeout, meaning that if the touch sensor was toggled to the on position it would remain on forever, or until toggled to the off position. The chip, however, does support sensor timeout functionality with a bit of customization. This datasheet will show how to calculate the proper resistor-capacitor configuration if you wish to use this feature.  

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Adafruit Industries Sensor Development Boards and Kits View

Again, one of the greatest things about all of these sensors is that they are meant to be used quickly out of the box in any of your prototypes, especially if you’re designing around an Arduino-compatible microcontroller. Arduino always makes our list of the best microcontrollers because there is always loads of support within the ecosystem.  

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A000066 | Arduino Uno Rev3

Arduino Corporation Embedded System Development Boards and Kits View

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