Internet button with proximity sensor

Hi all,

can anyone recommend a neat way to add a proximity sensor to an internet button? I’d like to be able to control the lights/send events by waving a hand over the button at a range of 10 to 20cm. I need a way to do this so that the button can be housed in a robust case as this project will be for a sports application and will inevitably get a knock or two. Any examples of ways to house the button would be much appreciated as I can’t see any mounting holes. I’d also like to be able to use the functionality of the buttons and allow space for a rechargeable battery within the case.

Any help appreciated,


I saw a sweet sensor (perhaps on adafruit) that detects motion and direction at which the motion came.

In fact I think someone here hooked it up to the core and used it to turn pages of a digital book on their PC.

Someone please refresh my memory…

This one :wink:
or this:
or this one (works when covered):

Thanks for the replies, much appreciated. The SparkFun gesture sensor looks ideal.

I’ve been searching for examples of projects that have created enclosures for the button but there doesn’t seem to be many examples available. Having not worked with electronics before I’m not sure what the best way to mount the PCB and deal with the push buttons is. I’d like to have a case with external buttons that transfer the clicks through to the push buttons on the PCB. I was thinking of some kind of robust rubber buttons on the external case. Is there a good supplier of components that can be used for this? Is there a standard way to do this?

Thanks again.

Depending on the project, I think most people opt to design their own PCBs. It gives you much more flexibility and allows you to design the board to your needs. In your case, you could put the gesture sensor on there, and perhaps put the buttons on top. Mounting holes could also be created to make it easier to house. Buttons with longer ‘sticks’(?) could be used to get them out to where you need them. All in all, it might be worthwhile looking into.
If not, then access to a 3D printer should allow you to create a custom casing.
I’m not sure of any ‘standards’, so let’s wait for some alternative options :smile:

I think designing my own PCB may be beyond my abilities as I’m a programmer and haven’t done much with electronics before. I’m presuming that designing your own PCB would be a much more costly exercise for a small number of units?

This is also just a home project rather than a commercial venture so my budget is pretty limited. The internet button with the proximity sensor gives me everything I need from a hardware perspective and if I can find a way to house it in a professional way then I’ll be happy. I’ll only need to produce around 8 units so I was thinking of designing a simple circular perspex top and bottom plate with some kind of protective sides. Or as you suggest 3D printing could be a good option.

Maybe I can find some kind of silicone/rubber buttons that have an extension stalk to reach to the push buttons on the PCB.

Thanks again.

It doesn’t have to be really complicated. You could replicate the (open source) internet button design, but add some things to it (top side buttons, mounting holes, gesture sensor). Eagle has a free version, which is perfect for small boards.
It also doesn’t have to be really expensive (and might actually be cheaper). China has some great PCB manufacturers which do small batches for low prices. $25 for 10 10x10cm PCBs over here for example. @peekay123 might offer some suggestions in regards to creating your own PCBs.
If you can handle a soldering iron, it shouldn’t be too hard to make them yourself, and it can be pretty fun.

That said, making an enclosure for the shield shouldn’t be impossible either. Depending on the complexity, I think 3D printing would be the easiest option, since you can create some weird shapes that would be hard with other processes. You can create some bulges that the buttons could fall in between to prevent movement, and ‘sandwich’ the PCB between two printed parts? Extended button stalks could also be incorporated into the print. Perhaps @wgbartley could offer some advise on the printing side of things.

Best of luck!

Thanks so much for the advice! Making my own PCB might be an option after all, it certainly sounds interesting. I had no idea you could get small quantities of PCBs produced for such a low cost.


I wonder if you could point me in the direction of the internet button design files? Sorry if I’m missing something obvious but I can’t seem to find where to get the files.


@mjcoder, you can find all the Core and Photon shields here:

The Internet Button files are among the Photon shields. :smiley:

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Thanks @peekay123