Commodore 64 Power Glove Is So Bad

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The Nintendo Power Glove was terrible. Really, really terrible. Thanks to modern components, though, it’s possible to recreate the Power Glove experience in a way that doesn’t suck so much. That’s what [Leif] did with his motion sensing glove for the Commodore 64.

Instead of rolling his own IMU and putting it in a glove, [Leif] is using SonicWear SoMo, a glove originally designed to generate MIDI data for performance pieces. Inside this glove is a 9 DOF gyro/accelerometer/magnetometer, uC, battery, and XBee that can be easily reprogrammed to do something a little more (or less) useful than simply sending MIDI notes and commands.

[Leif] reprogrammed the XBees to use I/O line passing instead of sending serial data, and connected the recieving XBee to the C64 joystick port through a very simple circuit with a hex inverter.

All the code to turn a SonicWear glove into a C64 controller is available on the Github, and there’s a neat demo video of [Leif] demoing his glove at the VCF Midwest late last month.

Building optical flex sensors

[Joel] dug up this hack that he pulled off over ten years ago. It’s inspired by the Nintendo PowerGlove, and uses flex sensors to react to movements of your fingers. The interesting thing is, he built these optical flex sensors himself.

He likes to say that this is a ghetto fiber-optic setup. The inlaid diagram above gives you an idea of how the sensors work. An IR LED and infrared diode are positioned at either end of a piece of clear aquarium tubing. When the tube is flexed, the amount of light that makes it to the diode is diminished, a change that can be measured by a microcontroller. [Joel] found that he could increase the resolution of the sensor by adding something to the center of the tube, blocking the light when not straight. In this case he used pieces of scrap wire. The outside of the sensor was also wrapped in shrink tubing to keep ambient light from interfering with measurements.

He uses a trimpot to tune the sensors but we wonder how hard it would be to add a calibration algorithm to the firmware?

Custom flex sensors

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Flex sensors, like the ones used in the Nintendo Power Glove, are generally expensive and hard to find. However, [jiovine] demonstrates that they are easy enough to make from spare parts. He sandwiched a strip of plastic from ESD bags between pieces of copper foil, and wrapped the whole thing in heat shrink tubing. The sensor is able to detect bends in either direction, unlike the original power glove sensors. His version had a nominal resistance of about 20k ohms, but by choosing a different resistive layer you could create sensors that are more or less resistive.

Related: 5-cent tilt sensor

Power Glove 20th anniversary edition

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Using an original Power Glove, a bluetooth module, an Arduino, and an accelerometer, [Biphenyl] brought the system up to date. As you can see in the video after the break, the new version is wireless and much more useful in the games. Skip to 11 minutes in if you just want to see it in action. There’s a full writeup on Instructables if you want to build your own.  We love the power glove and we can’t wait to see a more developed game for it. This beats the Power Glove Wiimote, hands down.

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