Treasure Hunt

I compromised on some of the prices to get better values. 

Bend / flex sensor      The $4.00 out-of-spec sensor would often suffice.

Fabric/stretch sensor   

This was almost the only source of small quantities of conductive rubber I could find. Making a stretch sensor is as easy as attaching terminals to the ends of a strip of conductive elastomer, so that’s what I looked for. Apparently anti-esd rubber bands have resistance in the megohm range, which is not as useful. One $8.00 sheet could make dozens of sensors.

Electroluminescent “wire” (EL-wire)

Alcohol sensor


Linear actuator

This one allows precise position control:

This doesn’t:

Fiber optic cable

Tiny potentiometer

Bag of small potentiometers:

Single tiny potentiometer:    

Conductive fabric:     Cheap tacky metallized craft fabric would probably work for some applications.

Thermochromic paint/dye    Nice minimum quantity, and you can easily choose the intensity of the tone by adding the appropriate amount of medium.

Nitinol / shape memory alloy wire  

Conductive paint      Is the RF shielding stuff conductive enough to handle useful current? If so, it’s a better value if you need a lot.

Neodymium magnets      I ordered some from here and they’re the real deal.

Copper tape / copper foil

Conductive adhesive:

Minimum price for a roll:

Tilt sensor

$0.25 and detects on two axes. Probably not very reliable.

Peltier Junction

These are sweet.

Weird Applications:

What can’t you use with an Arduino? With a big enough semiconductor switch, you could control a Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation coil.


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