If flipping a regular old light switch or pressing buttons isn’t an adequately pleasing way to use your appliances around the house, how about poking at the leaves of a plant to turn on your lamp? [Xkitz] has provided a thorough breakdown of how to turn any conductive object in your living space into a nifty capacitive touch switch that adds a bit of charm to such an everyday action.

Creating an electrostatic field around a conductive medium, the capacitive touch relay constantly monitors this field and will toggle when any minuscule change to the capacitance is detected. [Xkitz] uses a bamboo plant as his trigger. Gently touching any leaf will still act as an adequate trigger — as cool demonstration of how the electrostatic field works.

[embedded content]

[xkitz] has cleverly disguised the relay as an aluminium plate that allows any prospective maker to switch things up when they get bored of using their plants as light switches. They also remind the reader to re-calibrate the relay when the desired object changes. Re-calibration only takes a few minutes. Considering this build came together in short order and under $50, that’s time well spent for adding a bit of unique flair for your home. While you’re building this, how about throwing together a touchscreen clock to compliment your new light switch?

[Thanks for the tip markinlvca!]


  1. Time to make a banana phone.

  2. Cf the cellular, modular, interactivodular strain i take it

  3. notarealemail

    Come home one day and notice the lamp is on…
    “Who touched my plant?!”
    *gets paranoid*

  4. notarealemail

    Does anyone know if it would be reasonably possible to detect human touch on a tall tree?!? Must be able to differentiate from ‘noise’ like wind, birds, and squirrels.
    I just have some interesting ideas for outdoor lighting. 😀

  5. off course …
    Step 1, isolate tree from ground.

  6. :DD

  7. notarealemail

    Lol, I would like to omit that. 😛

  8. Okay then, step one, plant acorn in uber large pot, wait 30 years …

  9. mwahahaha!

  10. notarealemail

    You guys are just mean, lol. 😛

  11. Pedantic nit:
    They aren’t really bamboo.

  12. Dan#8582394734

    Forsooth! And you are not being pedantic, you wouldn’t call a capacitor a resistor would you?

  13. Dan#8582394734

    That isn’t bamboo, it is actually Dracaena braunii, AKA Sander’s dracaena. It is a plant from Africa that belongs to the Asparagaceae family and therefore is more closely related to the the Canary Islands dragon tree.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *