Any help with creating a load sensitive Octolively type of project?

I'm a design student trying to work out a project that involves pressure (load) and light. In the end it will essentially be a load based Octolively instead of an IR based version. The problem is that this is way over my head and out of my field, but I'd still like to give it a try and learn some new things in the process. 

In my head I imagine that I can just break apart a bathroom scale and take it's load cell and somehow connect it to an Arduino board or Raspberry Pi type thing and run some short code that will translate the weight being exerted onto the scale into the amount of light that the LEDs are producing (and also have them do a slow fade out like the Octolively has the option of -- or better yet, have all of those options available! :D). Or if the board is even necessary at all and if I could just reconfigure the Octolively to use a load cell instead of the IR sensors... I don't really know. 

Anyways, if anyone could offer me any sort of direction or anything then that would be awesome! I think this could be a really fun project.

Thanks.
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