Hardware to determine when someone is on a step

Hi All,

What would be the best hardware to integrate with hass.io to determine when someone is standing on each step of a staircase? I need to register every step - (less than half a second response). A person could go up step 1, to step 2, to step 3 and hop back to step 1 and I would need to register each step.

I have the ability to wire anything in the stair case.

My guess is that I could use a pressure sensor installed in each step or a motion sensor (needs to have a very close range and small eye since you would see it).

Any suggestions or links to similar projects would be greatly appreciated.

Could this be any help?

Thanks @john1

Yeah, that was very helpful and good thinking out of the box.

I think the answer now is a stress plate that closes a circuit when stepped on. That would trigger the event that would allow me to program the lights to do what I want.

So I need something cost effective and also with little variance. So I don’t want a 500lbs to crush the plate and permanently close the circuit. Looking for something that could last for years with a lot of use of someone stepping on it.

Interested if anyone else has some thoughts or ideas.


Something like

Depending on how many steps you’re looking at, a multi way digital I/O board connected to a suietably Microprocessor with Wifi is probably the best bet.

How about using an ultrasonic sensor to determine the persons distance up/down the staircase? (you can buy them for peanuts) Integrate that into HA using the API and you will be able to provide the distance. Simply mount the ultrasonic sensor at the top of the staircase on an angle to face down the stairs (parallel to them).

What is the use case? That will make it easier to determine the best solution. It sounds like you want to do something I was toying with, having lighting controlled by a persons position? I was looking at having an addressable LED strip light up the LED’s which correspond to a persons position along the strip. Doing this would allow you to only light up the step corresponding to where the person is on the staircase.

The is really good guys.

@GadgetUK - Yes, i was starting to think about something about the size of an index card with a wire on each side of the card that would be placed between the subfloor (plywood) and step. I would create a mesh of them with about 3 to a step. This way if someone is walking on the edge of the stairs, it would still close the circuit.

I’m leaning towards something like sparkydave recommended.

@sparkydave, This is exactly what I am looking for. You’re right, I want to turn on an addressable LED based on the person’s location. I’m going to put a video together and post it when I’m done. Thanks for the advice.

This might work for you… I’m sure you could source this even cheaper. https://www.alliedelec.com/product/optek-tt-electronics-/opb100z/70048607/?&mkwid=s3a8LWQzQ&pcrid=334950710611&pkw=&pmt=&gclid=Cj0KCQjwsZ3kBRCnARIsAIuAV_QdHMPqDHw8Z_yow-jHHVUPcSpeMdEJPhKxoZgGwHTx_19DiWedgt0aAiiNEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

No worries. My thought was to use the ultrasonic to create a variable (say n) between 0 and the total number of steps, then use that value to light up the LED corresponding to that variable value as the LED address. It should be very easy with very little code. To make more LED’s light up simply use some basic math to also turn on LED’s n-1 and n+1 etc. I don’t have stairs in my house but was going to use the same concept for along a hallway.