We built thisTouchBox to enable us to quickly document and publish the projects we are working on and to share with our colleagues or on YouTube. We tend to make video as this is the quickest way to record video blogs and is as a form of a 'Lazy' documentation of what we are doing or have done. If we don't do this, then we normally don't make enough notes and we then forget how what we actually did after a few weeks.
The idea came from an Arduino 'maker'; Ralph S Bacon, who created an excellent YouTube video of his design and construction.
We basically just took his idea and rather than using the 30 Cap1188 Touch Sensor module for the capacitive touch switching, we merely used the available Analogue ports directly on the Arduino. The main reasons being that we didn't have one handy and it works good enough for what we want to use it for. It's not as sensitive as the design from Ralph S Bacon; but it does the job for now. We may make another version with the 30 Cap1188 Touch Sensor module if this proves to be useful.
Here are some details of how we made our Proof of Concept. We then went on to make a PCB and the details will follows shortly.:
We used the Arduino / Genunio Micro, as that has 12 Analogue ports available. The main purpose is that the Micro is the smallest board of the family, easy to fit in a small box. The Micro is based on the ATmega32U4 microcontroller featuring a built-in USB which makes the Micro recognizable as a mouse or keyboard
We simply covered the plastic box with masking tape and marked the position of the holes to drill. We wanted to use the full 12 analogue ports provided by the Genuino Micro so we drilled 12 holes for small M3 bolts.
We drilled out all the holes and an extra one in the top for an LED. We off-set the holes so we had some room for a legend.
We soldered wires on to M3 washers and fixed these with M3 nuts.
Here are the 12 touch sensor wires and LED fixed to the lid
For the PoC we just used a small prototyping board and connected all the wires directly onto that.
double sided tape onto the back and ran the USB cable through the side of the case. That was basically all to it !
The Arduino sketch is available on our GitHub and below. You'll need to install the keyboard.h and capactiveSensor.h libraries.
We merely configured each touch switch as CTL-SHIFT+1 to CTL+SHIFT+9 and also CTL+Shift + Q & W, but you can change the sketch to how you like. We also triggered keyboard sequences based on switch combinations; for example by holding down touch switch 11 and 12 - it sent the keyboard characters CTL+Shift+E to the PC. The OSB application (see below) was then configured to switch scenes when this key combination was received.
We used the Open Broadcaster Software OBS recommended by Ralph S Bacon. We just downloaded the software, connected various USB cameras into the PC. Then mapped the video inputs to the softkey codes sent from the Arduino as a keyboard sequence. This was almost plug & Play after figuring out the concept of building Scenes and then creating "banks" of switches.
For now we've just used 3 main "Scenes" and mapped the input sources accordingly to switches. This way you can re-use the same switches many time - but to to trigger different functionality. A card of each "scene-map" was created as an memory jogger which helped to remind us what the commands and which switch does what. We'll probably add that to a legend.
There are Android apps that does this too, which I check-out one day.
Here is a video (Sorry - the sound quality is really bad!)