Stage Automation


London’s West End stages are home to many Tapeswitch sensors. This particular one has a scene where the staircase retracts as the actor walks down the stairs, giving the illusion of walking in mid-air. The customer required a sensor to be fitted to 14 triangular steps of an automated stage set. The step-sensor then needed to send a signal when it was stepped on by a person over 35kg. The sensor also needed to be very thin, anti-slip/trip, and be glued to the step surface.


For this application we suggested an array of  very thin pressure-sensitive mats, fitted to the treads of the curved staircase. The sensors themselves were constructed using ribbon-switch technology sandwiched between very thin top and bottom layers of PVC material.  The treads of the staircase were almost rectangular, which meant much more wiring and soldering than usual. The fact the switches were all of different lengths added to the complexity of the job. The single-lead wiring gave the customer a single output signal to use in his control system.  Each sensor was RF welded to provide a fully waterproof seal.


Key requirements

  • Control mat
  • Activate at 35kg and above
  • Less than 5mm depth.
  • Custom shape
  • Anti-trip/slip