[Lab] Question(s) for the Collective: Pressure sensors

Tom Burns tom.i.burns at gmail.com
Tue Apr 10 13:49:56 EDT 2012

Hi Henri

An AVR chip is what powers an arduino.  If you developed the solution with
an arduino you could then use your own minimal clones for the rest of the
microcontrollers and save some money.

Hardware-wise, an Arduino is basically an AVR microcontroller pre-flashed
with a bootloader that supports serial uploading of code, with the
supporting circuitry necessary to run & support serial USB.

I've used AVRs since before the Arduino was popular.  There's a bit of a
headache in programming them compared to an arduino as off the shelf you
can't just plug them in over USB, but once it had the arduino bootloader
installed it'd be almost as simple as the arduinos for programming.


On Tue, Apr 10, 2012 at 1:45 PM, Henri Kuschkowitz <
henri.kuschkowitz at gmail.com> wrote:

> Wow,
> Thanks Tom. that was quite a quick response. The reason for using Arduinos
> is that I already have one (possibly two) available. I have heard of AVR
> chips before, but never used them nor do I know much about them at this
> point. I will definitely review them. Have you used them before?
> Cheers,
> Henri
> On 2012-04-10, at 1:40 PM, Tom Burns wrote:
> Hi Henri
> If low cost is a goal I strongly suggest AVR chips with supporting
> circuitry instead of complete arduinos.  The chips + supporting circuitry
> come in at under $10.  If you find someone with an AVR ISP programmer they
> can load the arduino bootloader to the chips so further software revisions
> can be uploaded via serial.  Should bring the per-microcontroller cost down
> to ~$10.
> Tom
> On Tue, Apr 10, 2012 at 1:37 PM, Henri Kuschkowitz <
> henri.kuschkowitz at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi everyone,
>> I am hoping to be able to access the collective mind to get some
>> information regarding pressure sensitive sensors for a possible project
>>  for the upcoming Nuit Blanche <http://www.nuitblancheottawa.ca/> here
>> in Ottawa.
>> I would like to gather the input from people walking over a defined area
>> on the ground (8"x10" possibly larger). Technically, only a digital output
>> (step on/off an area) and no analog data would be required. Since there is
>> no compensation for this project a low cost for material is a big factor in
>> my research.
>> After a short analysis, I came to the conclusion that the cheapest
>> alternative to buying any kind of sensors would be creating them by myself,
>> similar to fluidforms<http://arduino.cc/playground/Projects/ArduinoUsers#fluidforms> or
>> a pressure sensor matrix<http://www.instructables.com/id/Pressure-Sensor-Matrix/?ALLSTEPS>,
>> and to combine them through multiplexing using one (or more) arduino(s).
>> The sensors would be either mounted between sheets of plywood, possibly
>> fabric or similar. The installation would be outside, so I have to factor
>> this in for what material to use as well.
>> My question would be whether any of you have any knowledge or advice
>> regarding such an endeavour, whether or not I might be on the right track
>> or should look into a different (possibly simpler) alternative? Also, I am
>> not completely certain whether there would be any issue with multiplexing
>> when a couple of sensors are capturing an input at the same time?
>> As always, I more than appreciate any good advice!
>> Thanks in advance,
>> Henri
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