Every laptop has one - a touchpad/trackpad - for controlling the mouse.

I'd like to build my own, external one. I've looked around and I cannot find a tutorial. I have come across 1 example where a webcam is used, but this is an optical touchpad, whereas I want a capacitive touchpad. I don't want to build a tiny one like on laptops; I want to make one at least the size of a mousepad.

Work by Yang Zhang is great and I'd love to do this, but unfortunately I cannot find an demo (checked his github for code, too).

Can anyone point me in the right direction or provide some information? Thanks.


closed as too broad by JRE, Dave Tweed May 21 at 18:14

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Look-up "drawing pad". You will have a lot of competition there. \$\endgroup\$ – Ale..chenski May 1 '18 at 23:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why do you think you can scale better than Wacom? \$\endgroup\$ – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams May 1 '18 at 23:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @IgnacioVazquez-Abrams Sorry, I don't understand your question. I never mentioned Wacom or scaling. \$\endgroup\$ – pookie May 1 '18 at 23:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Look for capacitive sensor chips and read the datasheet. I tried one but never got it working reliably. \$\endgroup\$ – Oldfart May 2 '18 at 6:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ The mission of Stack Exchange sites is limited to narrow questions which can be answered right here. Both requests to create a full tutorial, and requests for references to existing tutorials or materials elsewhere on the web are formally off-topic in the Stack Exchange system. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Stratton May 7 '18 at 1:05

There are tons of external touchpads on the market, from the giants like Wacom, Logitech or Lenovo to cheap no-name ones. I doubt you'd be able to approach their precision in home-made device. Some of them are pretty big (and expensive).

If you still want to make one yourself you can start looking in two directions.

1) find capacitive sensor and figure out how to interface with it from something like Arduino. This Snowpad project is good example, but it does not look very "open source" anymore.

2) learn how to communicate with computer via USB. What you need is to implement something called HID class device.

Oh, and if you want to get really fancy, maybe blackberry trackball would be more to your liking.


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