Capacitive sensing through wood

Hi, I am new to this so might seem like a newbie question.

I am trying to make this curved bowl sort of thing out of wood. I need capacitive sensing from the inside to detect if someone has touched the device on the outside. However, I don’t want the sensing to be limited to a specific spot touched on the outside. I want it to be able to sense the touch anywhere on the device on the outside. The electronics are to fit inside this bowl and the sensing is to happen from the outside.

  1. What capacitive sensing product should I use?
  2. Would I require multiple sensors or will one sensor be able to do the trick?
  3. How thing would the wood need to be?

Hi Sushmita,

Welcome to the forum!

One thing to remember for capacitive sensing, is that it helps if the object is conductive (wood is pretty far from it :slight_smile: .) You might consider using an adhesive conductive foil or even conductive paint!

As long as you can connect it to your sensor board or microcontroller, any conductive material should be ok for capacitive sensing, and you can try the wood on it’s own to start with.

Keen to see this project evolve!


Hi Sushmita,

Welcome to the forum! :partying_face:

You can certainly detect touch through wood using capacitive sensors as long as it’s not too thick there’s a few bedside clocks that use this trick to detect when you rest your hand on top to display the time. Here’s a clip of someone using a TP223 quite easily through some 6mm ply and a link to both a sensor and a link to another forum from Arduino describing the best options for your project to detect touch capacitively through wood (you may need to flatten some of the pins on the bottom of the sensor to get a decent connection with a nail file or similar). If there’s anything else that we can help you with please let us know!


Hi Bryce, I did have a look at that. I was concerned about the specific spot based capacitive sensing. For sensing over the whole plywood, would I require multiple sensors? Plus I used the TP223 Grove sensor but it’s causing a bit of an issue since the surface for sensing is essentially curved.

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