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Simple sensor project?


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Hello,

I'm not really an electronics person, but wanted to build something to help the kids I teach.  I'm trying to be as clear as possible but might not be using the right words.

What I want is this:

- a sensor (pressure/force)
[small & lightweight, can measure up to 60 lbs - something like this
http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=8685
]

- can adjust the sensitivity
[ for a light weight kid, it's easier to trigger, a heavier kid, it's harder]


- an output (speaker) that can produce one of six noises  (probably animal sounds]
[and the kid can select which noise]


My questions are:
- is this as simple/easy as it sounds? If not, what are the challenging aspects of it?
- what would be a fair price range for someone to design and /or build it for me?


Thanks in advance.

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Yes, it's possible to use a sensor like that.

Yes, it's possible to adjust the sensitivity.

There used to be an IC with preprogrammed animal sounds available but I don't know if it's still made.

Whether this is easy or not depends on the level of experience you already have and if you can find an animal noise IC.

It will be expensive to get an engineer to design something for you, even if it's fairly simple. Don't forget that cheap used in toys are only so cheap because they're made in huge quantities in China, getting someone to make a one off will be much more costly.

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It may be easier to do it via a platform such as Arduino - http://www.arduino.cc/ - they have tutorials and sample code on hooking up sensors, adjusting sensitivity, sound makers, etc.

Designing projects is costly, and can quickly consume time and resources. Remember all this requires testing to make sure it works on the day.  

Anyone who knows exactly how to do this properly won't be cheap unless you happen to have an engineer as a partner. Even then... !

Say you have everything technical sorted, what would the final product look like? You'd need an enclosure, with large buttons for selection, LED indicators for which sound is selected, pictures of each animal above? Where does the pressure sensor go? And all of this being "child proof" - which would be a huge consideration in design. Sensitive, calibrated electronics + Children = On the floor in pieces and wondering why you even bother getting up the morning

What is your budget in terms of time and money?

Even small projects have a way of taking up much more time and money than you would want or expect.

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I found out the name of the IC: HT2844.
http://www.selectronic.fr/includes_selectronic/pdf/Holtek/HT2844.pdf

There's also a chip on board which is a pre-made circuit board with the IC already embedded under a blob of epoxy.
http://kitsrus.com/projects/sg10m.pdf

As you want six noises, you'll need two ICs, unless you can find an IC with six or more sounds.

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