Interactive Window Display

Hi, I am designing an interactive window display, and need some help determining which components would be best suited to my needs. The display will be in a mall setting (multiple user inputs), behind glass, and feature 5 separate led lights that light up and also play an audible tone when someone walks by. The idea is that you could trip the sensors by walking by, or even “play” the display almost like the strings of a guitar by dancing in front of it. This is still in initial stages of design, but my three thoughts so far are:

  1. Using 5 motion sensors (probably microwave as I think IR will not transmit through the glass) to trip the sensors.
  2. Using a camera (possibly with a PIC or AVR included) as a motion sensor. I know there are many displays out there that use a camera to make interactive projected displays, but as this needs to be a simple on/off function, I was wondering if it was possible to accomplish without a laptop.
  3. Making the input slightly different and integrating dots on the window that when touched trigger the responses.

I am thinking an arduino could control the inputs and outputs, but past that don’t know what other pieces would be necessary. Any help / ideas are much appreciated.



Unfortunately, we do not have much experience with (and cannot offer you much specific advice on) the second and third options you mentioned, and all of the distance/motion sensors we carry are either IR or sonar. However, it might be worth trying an IR sensor to see if it would work through glass, as it probably depends on the specific IR wavelength and type of glass. Alternatively, if you could find a way to mount the sensors in front of the window, that would probably be the easiest solution.

- Kevin

Thanks for the reply Kevin. After doing more research, I’m going to try out the following options:

  1. X Band sensor (microwave) from Parallax, which will apparently sense even through a brick wall. The real test will be using 5 of them next to each other, and “pointing”/ restricting their angle to about 10°or less. I heard that someone had used steel tubing to try this (as microwaves don’t penetrate steel), but didn’t post any results, so will have to test myself.

  2. Ultrasonic sensors - will try them but thinking they will not work and will cause too much cross interference.

  3. the “Wild Card” - I purchased an ARDUINO EYE SHEILD: from the website . Going to try to hook up a $7 webcam to it and see what it can produce…

Will keep the post updated. I’m thinking that activating the lights should be simple enough, but have to figure out how to simultaneously play an audio tune as well.