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Let's consider a device such as a game controller or a standard remote control, but which is not controlled by "standard" keys. Instead, the idea is to minimize finger movement, such as in a keyer. What would be the best way to detect rather small finger movements - things like these come to my mind:

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Some notes on what I'm thinking about:

  • Doesn't necessary need to be a mechanical device
  • It would be good to support more then 4 / 5 directions - e.g. 9-way (i.e. w, nw, n, ne, e, se, s, sw + down) would be much better
  • While I'd like to hear experiences about these types, it would be better to have a way to either prevent or at least detect accidental "typing"
  • Obviosly, finger movement is the variable to minimize - I'd say 1/2" would be the threshold here
  • Let me know if I'm thinking in the wrong direction (too hard? better in some other way? etc.)

I'm mostly looking at your past experience in this area:

  • Did you ever have to build / maintain anything remotely similar?
  • Why would or would not you use the same component / process?
  • How did the final product turn out (e.g. in terms of ease of use)?
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Maybe you could use capacitive sensing. It is non-mechanical and could be used for any surface shape (in theory). A tiny array of sensors may deliver the resolution you need. Accidental typing could be detected by requiring unlikely touch combinations or having a locked mode, like on (old) mobile phones.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks Suha! Do you have a recommendation about the discrete electronic part that can be used? \$\endgroup\$ – icyrock.com May 8 '12 at 1:25

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