Data Glove Gets A Grip On Gesture Input

If we really want wearable computing to take off as a concept, we’re going to need lightweight input devices that can do some heavy lifting. Sure, split ergo keyboards are awesome. But it seems silly to restrict the possibilities of cyberdecks by limiting the horizons to imitations of desk-bound computing concepts.

What we really need are things like [Zack Freedman]’s somatic data glove. This fantastically futuristic finger reader is inspired by DnD spells that have a somatic component to them — a precise hand gesture that must be executed perfectly while the spell is spoken, lest it be miscast. The idea is to convert hand gestures to keyboard presses and mouse clicks using a Teensy that’s housed in the wrist-mounted box. You are of course not limited to computing on the go, but who could resist walking around the danger zone with this on their wrist?

Each finger segment contains a magnet, and there’s a Hall effect sensor in each base knuckle to detect when gesture movement has displaced a magnet. There’s a 9-DoF IMU mounted in the thumb that will eventually allow letters to be typed by drawing them in the air. All of the finger and thumb components are housed in 3D-printed enclosures that are mounted on a cool-looking half glove designed for weightlifters. [Zack] is still working on gesture training, but has full instructions for building the glove up on Instructables.

It’s true: we do love split ergo keyboarded cyberdecks, and this one is out of this world.

3 thoughts on “Data Glove Gets A Grip On Gesture Input

  1. Seems like a well thought out work in progress. Got to wonder if you could ever really get useable speeds with something like this though – absence of haptic feedback and if you are wearing it anyway potential spurious output buggering up the computer from movements in real life could drive you mad.. That last one can probably be avoided if the precision on finger mapping is good enough and the mapped gestures are not natural ones. And the former perhaps will not be needed with enough practice assuming spurious inputs is a solved problem you can get used to no haptics easily – as long as its damn nearly 100% accurate and reliable so you can develop the confidence and muscle memory.

    1. Late to the party, but w/e…

      I would think the easiest solution to spurious input, especially if this is only being worn on one hand, would be an interrupt/activation switch on the opposite hand. One pad on the thumb and another on the ring or social finger, possibly over the nail where incidental contact would be unlikely.

      As far as gesture mapping, there’s already an entire language, several in fact, dedicated specifically to spelling things out with your hands. My first thought when I saw this was to map everything to ASL. I know a few people who would absolutely LOVE to be able to just “talk out loud” and have it appear on a screen or route through a text-to-speech program. In a two glove setup, this would be a huge boon to the deaf community. One of my deaf friends already uses a custom HUD with a speech-to-text system, and he loves it. It’s not perfect, but it works most of the time.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.