Part 1: Introduction

An XYZ Pad Demo

XYZ Pads are 3-axis touch sensors that enable a wide range of human input and electronic musical instrument designs. XYZ pads are force-sensitive, and share some common technology / construction with single-zone FSRs. However, they're slightly trickier to interface with a microcontroller, and some basic multiplexing is required to alternately drive and read the same pins.

In this tutorial, we'll wire a Sensitronics XYZ Pad to an Arduino to demonstrate the basics of reading position and force. 4-wire resistive touchscreens also operate according similar principals, so if you've worked with touchscreens, the concepts here will be quite familiar. If not, don't worry, we'll cover things step by step.

Parts / Skills Required

To construct this example, you'll need the following parts & tools:

  • XYZ Pad
  • Arduino (Uno or Other)
  • Ohmmeter
  • 220 ohm resistor (x4) (Optional - see note in section 3)
  • Breadboard & Jumper Wire

We'll start with a look at how XYZ Pads work...