“Hello people, in this instructable you will be learning how to make a FLEX Sensor for almost no money at home. These kinds of sensors cost quite a lot in the market ranging from 10$ to 30$.
They are useful at an industry-level but for making DIY tech projects at home, that is too much of a cost to pay. Thus I bring to you an alternative solution to the sensor and I will show you how you can build one yourself at home very easily. So, let’s dive right in!
1.1 The Flex Sensor
A flex sensor or bend sensor is a sensor that measures the amount of deflection or bending. It is also referred to as a flexible potentiometer. It works on the principle of resistance and gives out various values based on the variations in resistance.
Its working is very simple. It has a low resistance when it is held straight because of the very low distance between the conductive particles present in the sensor. When it is bent, the distance between the particles increases which leads to higher resistance and a lower current passing through the sensor.
This way we can use a microcontroller board like Arduino very easily as what we need to do is just use the sensor as an input and we will get a value between 0 and 1023 where 0 will be when it is straight and 1023 when it is bent.
For more info regarding flex, sensor read this pdf from Sparkfun electronics!
1.2 Hacking The Sensor:
Now what we are going to be doing here is we will be replacing the inner resistive carbon elements with a paper that is shaded fully with a pencil. Pencil lead conducts electricity and we are going to use that to our advantage.
And for the main conducting plates of the sensor, we will be using two strips of tinfoil/aluminium foil as these conduct electricity quite well and again we will use these easily-accessible material found at every home, to our advantage.
The sensor will have two terminals and we can very easily connect it to an Arduino board. Flex sensors have a wide range of applications:
- Automotive controls
- Medical devices
- Industrial controls
- Computer peripherals
- Fitness products
- Musical instruments
- Measuring devices
- Virtual reality games
- Consumer products
- Physical therapy etc.
This was all about a flex sensor in easy terms and also how we will be hacking the sensor to meet our needs and also reduce the cost drastically using easily-accessible and low-cost material!
Now, let’s move on to gathering the material required, to actually start building it!”