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Does anybody know how I would make a soft foam sword detect a hit on a vest? This is for a dueling game, sort of like fencing, with nerf weapons. I'm hoping to eventually create a system using an arduino.

These are some sensors I've looked into already but I haven't found enough similar projects to know for sure that they would be appropriate:

Membrane relay switches this would require no hardware in the weapon. Can detect the intensity of a hit. but it could be detected by any kind of contact, even a crinkling vest.

Magnetic contact switches Magnets inside of the sword would be detected when in close proximity to the vest. would make the weapon heavier, possible need for wiring between weapon and vest, difficulty getting the magnetism through a foam weapon.

Voltage Divider foam sword needs a conductive material. Possible electrocution. Possible need for wiring between weapon and vest.

Frequency generator & microphones Emit a supersonic frequency that is detected when in proximity of the vest. Difficulty getting the frequency through a foam weapon, possibility of water damage to microphones. Interference between many people using the same process.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Didn't you ask this today already? \$\endgroup\$ – Trevor_G Feb 8 '18 at 20:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ I apologize, I'm new to this site. That post was poorly written and didn't properly convey my issue, as expressed by many commenters. That post has since been taken down. \$\endgroup\$ – unshiney Feb 8 '18 at 20:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you at least have a wire to some metallic coated ping pong ball or equiv. If the contact is only near field sensed, it will be prone to disputes. Hey you didn't touch me. Thus contact must be physical. And voltage is not more than a battery \$\endgroup\$ – Tony Stewart Sunnyskyguy EE75 Feb 8 '18 at 21:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ Electrocution is a bad assumption if the sword is high resistance and has a tip bigger than an electrical socket. \$\endgroup\$ – Tony Stewart Sunnyskyguy EE75 Feb 8 '18 at 21:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ Black CMOS conductive foam should be good for < 1M Ohm but then one needs a partially conductive suit. Which is a bigger issue. \$\endgroup\$ – Tony Stewart Sunnyskyguy EE75 Feb 8 '18 at 21:27
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Why not just a basic arduino + accelerometer duo? A 'hit' response will be significantly more distinguished than a 'swing'.

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    \$\begingroup\$ And there's even accelerometers that have a built-in "shock detection". \$\endgroup\$ – Lundin Feb 9 '18 at 7:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yep, definitely plenty of good accels to choose from. This poster had a similar application. Guessing that this accelerometer would work well for 'hit' detection \$\endgroup\$ – Austin Prater Feb 9 '18 at 21:16
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This looks like a better solution. Possibly a flexible polyresistor film inside a foam stick with stripleds inside. So you only need to detect a drop in resistance from ~1M to detect a touch. ( with sufficient bend)

enter image description here

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Put a microphone in the sword. You should be able to distinguish a hit from a swing or a near hit.

If you use a lot of padding around the microphone, then you will be able to make it so nearby shouts will be low, but people touching the sword will be audible.

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Capacitive screen. The "foam" in the sword may need to be engineered to be capable of holding a charge, like your finger is to a capacitive touch screen user interface. Fingers and hands or any skin would also activate it, but the "costume" could include NON-conductive gloves / clothes so that only the sword is available to activate it. Cost may be prohibitive though...

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It seems like "suicide" in this dueling game will be somewhat of an issue. It seems like creating a sensor that only detects direct contact will be best, so finding a soft conductive foam for the outside of the weapon is a must. \$\endgroup\$ – unshiney Feb 8 '18 at 21:20

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