Now, Finally, We Can Play With Power

In case you’re not a ’90s kid, the Nintendo Power Glove is the greatest device for human-computer interaction ever created. It’s so good, they called it bad, and then they made a movie about it. At its heart, the Power Glove is just some force sensors in the fingers of a glove, but that hasn’t stopped hackers from cracking these gloves open for years. We’ve seen the Power Glove used in Hackaday Prize entries before, we’ve seen it control quadcopters, we’ve seen it used as a Vive controller, and the Ultimate Power Glove comes loaded up with Bluetooth, motion tracking, a 9-axis IMU, and a 20-hour battery life. With all these Power Glove hacks, what more can be done?

Surprisingly, we haven’t seen a Power Glove hack that transmutes this icon of cyberpunk into a usable keyboard and mouse. That’s exactly what [Scott] is doing for his Hackaday Prize entry, and the results are looking good so far.

First up, the mouse. This is actually a joystick-based version of cursor control, capitalizing on the force sensors in the Power Glove to register clicks. Add in a button, some perfboard, and an Arduino, and you have a USB input device that can control a cursor. Without any good solution for a small keyboard, [Scott] turned to a normal ‘ol Bluetooth keyboard mounted to the Power Glove’s wrist.

It might not be as fancy as the great Power Glove hacks out there, but this is certainly the most useful. Who wouldn’t want to wear their keyboard and mouse at all times, all while looking like they stepped out of a time machine controlled by a Commodore 64? This is the heights of early ’90s futurism, and a great entry for the Hackaday Prize.

14 thoughts on “Now, Finally, We Can Play With Power

  1. Dillon Markey, the animator for Robot Chicken, uses the Power Glove for his work. I don’t know the specifics of any modifications so it’s probably more a, “life hack,” I guess, but I doubt the designers of the Power Glove ever intended it to be used that way.

    1. Yeah I saw a documentary about it.
      Basically he gutted the glove, made a new button pad pcb, adewe micro and some form of transmitter (IR?) To make it send commands to their single frame cameras. Usually this is done with a handheld remote. But he keep loosing it, or it was so inconvenient cto take it out of pocket, push buttons, put back in pocket to move the characters, then repeat the pocket process.
      As far as I remember, he doesn’t use the finger sensors or position bar at all. He added some of his most common hand tools on rlbadge retractors so that they are (literally) always at hand.

      He admits he could have just made a glove to strap the camera remote to his hand, but “where’s the fun in that?!” And he loves to say stuff like “I animate with POWER” and other punz.

  2. Oh man, I remember when Scott first joined i3Detroit, this was the project he was working on! We talked quite a lot about force sensors and joysticks and stuff. He’s probably the reason our electronics lab has so many different versions of tiny joysticks and trackballs and stuff now…

  3. Now if only a kind soul could decipher the P5 Glove transmissions, so I could hack mine without tearing it apart… I would have done it long time ago, but the funny thing is, it is still working, even though about five Windowses have passed.

      1. I meant a different glove – Essential Reality P5 Gaming Glove. :) To be exact, it would be great to have the communication protocols between the glove itself and the tower – the positional detection is not that great anyway, but the flex sensors are splendid…

        1. I just googled it. I swersr I thought it was some knockoff contemporary for PC games at the same time is the Power Glove. I mean it just looks so 1990s “high tech” and “future” design.
          $120 USD on Amazon?

          Problem with gaming gloves : what do you do with something that just makes your arm tired? Works well with VR sure, but outside of that, not many practical applications that don’t just prematurely wear you out. I think that’s true of all futuristic gesture control systems. Possibly fine for the kind of “orientate and discuss” meetings you see on all the future shows and CSI or whatever… But not for any kind of long productivity work.

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