Just how do you make a color sensor?

So, we must build a color sensor! We found many YouTube videos of successful DIY color sensors, so it can be done! We found the tutorial from the ITP Sensor Workshop to be most helpful (even though the images on the site no longer load.)

From the  ITP Sensor Workshop – A Brief Explanation of How It Works:

“The sensor essentially consists of an RGB LED and and a photo cell placed right next to each other with a small divider between them so that the light of the LED does not directly hit the photo cell. An object is placed a short distance … from the sensor. The red, green, and blue lights on the LED are switched on one at a time. If the object’s color contains any amount of red, green, or blue, that color is reflected back onto the photo cell when the corresponding light is on and read into Arduino as an analog value. The three colors are then mixed into one, the color of the object.”

Here is our circuit based on the Sensor Workshop and tweaked for our project:

We also found this diagram helpful (click to see the full tutorial):

And, here’s a video of our progress:

If you are working on a project with a color sensor, here are some links that we found helpful:

Instructables– Using a Photocell and RGB LED like ours – “Because colours absorb certain wavelengths and reflect certain wavelengths, we can use different wavelengths(colours) of light and take readings(from a sensor that has nearly human responses) and thereby make a pretty good guess at what colour the sensor is being exposed to.”

Great Explanation of How the Sensor Works – YouTube

Color sensor paperweight- Lights up color beneath it. – YouTube

Elegant Color Sensor lights Orb – YouTube

Sensing Color with ADJD-S311 + Arduino / Sparkfun – Color Light Sensor


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