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Things to be kept in mind :

  1. The sensor would be placed under a thick layer of cotton.
  2. The sensor should be able to withstand high impact.
  3. The sensor would be connected to an Arduino.
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    \$\begingroup\$ Accelerometer, while the whole thing is mounted on a stiff spring. \$\endgroup\$ – Eugene Sh. Oct 15 '15 at 14:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Piezo sensor - like what they use in electronic drum kits. Come to think of it, you can probably just use the pad from a drum kit if you've got the cotton layer on top. \$\endgroup\$ – Jon Oct 15 '15 at 14:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was thinking of some kind of a shock sensor. \$\endgroup\$ – SloppyJoe Oct 15 '15 at 14:58
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You can always use a FSR (force sensitive resistor). I think use of accelerometer would be an elegant solution but as mentioned in earlier posts, it would require you to perform multiple experiments under controlled enviroment for calibrations. As a hobbyist I would go for FSR.

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Use an accelerometer. You need to do several tests to profile different sorts of punches, like calibrating your system. Give several punches in calibration mode, save the accel readings and construct a database with the signal profiles corresponding to different punches.

Then, just compare the readings at use time with those stored from your tests and you can determine the strength of the punch and maybe the direction also.

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