I experimented a bit with capacity based sensors and proximity detection. So I stumbled upon two very nice chips from Quantum Technologies: the QT113, a touch detection IC based on Kirchhoff's Current Law and the QT301, a very interesting Capactiy-to-PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) IC.
The sensor can be calibrated to a min an max value and now I'm going to find out how far away a stable detection can be sensored.
Definitely a nice toy – and regarding the prices for high quality push-buttons, the QT113 could be a nice alternative for mechanical switches.
More infos can be found at my second virtual home midibox.org
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