Add lots of touch sensors to your next microcontroller project with this easy-to-use 12-channel capacitive touch sensor breakout board, starring the MPR121. This chip can handle up to 12 individual touchpads with plug-and-play STEMMA QT connector and large alligator/croc-clip friendly pads, it’s a no-solder solution to capacitive touch sensing.
The MPR121 has support for reading data over I2C, which can be implemented with nearly any microcontroller. You can select one of 2 addresses with the ADDR pin (solder it close for the alternative address), for a total of 24 capacitive touch pads on one I2C 2-wire bus. Using this chip is a lot easier than doing the capacitive sensing with analog inputs: it handles all the filtering for you and can be configured for more/less sensitivity.
This sensor comes as a tiny hard-to-solder chip so we put it onto a breakout board for you. Since it’s a 3V-only chip, we added a 3V regulator and I2C level shifting so it’s safe to use with any 3V or 5V microcontroller/processor like Arduino. We even added an LED onto the IRQ line so it will blink when touches are detected, making debugging by sight a bit easier on you.
Getting started is a breeze with our Arduino and CircuitPython/Python libraries and tutorials. You’ll be up and running in a few minutes, and if you are using another microcontroller, it’s easy to port our code.
Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.