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3D Pad - Control Without Touching [130508]

Jean.Noel's picture
Author: Jean.Noel | Project status: Finished | 8 contributions | 7 members | 17 comments | 9582 views

Arduino shield for controlling something without touching the controller. Great for Touchless Gesture User Interface experiments, artistic expression and game controllers.

Based on capacitive sensing techniques. Does not use special parts, just a bunch of CMOS chips connected to an ATmega328 in the form of an Arduino Uno board.

See it in action: Demo Video,   "3D Air control" MIDI controller

Did you like it? You can help 3Dpad to win the "Atmel Corporation’s Simply AVR Design Contest". Please give your vote here
** Get the two PCBs in the Elektor Shop **

** 3Dpad is now available already assembled on Tindie ** "hand-made" by the inventor himself!




We're now drawing the schematic, the PCB will follow soon. The software has to be ported from the original MSP430F2132 to the ATmega328, but that should not pose too many problems.

Update 28/2/2014

The files below have been updated, the PCB has arrived (see photos). We can start building our prototypes.

Update 3/3/2014

We have assembled our first prototype without any problems. All we need now is software to try it out. Will the electrolytic capacitors have an impact on the center electrode? We will find out soon (hopefully). If so, we have 5mm types ready.

Work in progress on my side:

Should be OK for first software test tomorow...

Update 6/3/2014

Code migration from MSP430 to Arduino Uno done (compilation without errors) I created a Lib "Elektor3Dpad". 5.824 / 32.256 octets.
Just starting the test & debug right now: Argh....

Stay tuned!

Update 10/3/2014

It works well now! I added screenshots of the signals and software.
I still have to write a nice description of the schematics and principle...
JNL @junowhynot

Update 11/3/2014

Schematics, PCBs & BOMs have been updated to reflect the modifications applied to get the prototype to work well. Also added two LEDs. We are now at revision 1.1.

Firmware in the shape of an Arduino sketch is now available as well. See the attachments below.

Update 17/3/2014

Software: 3D coordinates interpolation and getsure recognitions are OK now:

Updates 09/04/2014

Work in progress: making 5x 3D-Pad

Just finalized the Software for Windows


14 photos | 4 schematics | 1 PCB(s) | 2 software files | 0 other

Project contributions

Dither's picture

Is there a problem with the software downloads, linux and windows.

Hi, I have made the boards and wanted to run them to show people here at

the U.  Problems with the software downloads.  For the linux version I downloaded the software is missing the "fillter" function.  I looked through the downloaded libraries and libraries set up with the Arduinuo IDE and could not find it so the IDE would not verify the software. > Read more

Jean.Noel's picture

Pix & Tech May 24-25 I will be there to demonstrate the 3D-Pad

Pix & Tech May 24-25 I will be there to demonstrate the 3D-Pad

Jean.Noel's picture

You can help the project!

I hope you like my project. You can help with > Read more

Jean.Noel's picture

3D-Pad project demo video

Watch the first demo on Youtube:


3D Pad - Control Without Touching [130508]

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