Smart gloves have potential as human-machine interfaces that can help extract us from the joystick and mouse era, but the challenge is to make them, natural, intuitive, and efficient. Scientists from Politecnico di Torino and MIT led by Giorgio De Pasquale of the Italian University believe they have have come a step closer to this goal with Goldfinger – a self-powering glove that promises simple gesture control.
Though it may resemble something for the ski slopes, Goldfinger's everyday appearance hides the fact that it integrates the electronic and mechanical components into the fabric itself. It's designed to be more comfortable than similar devices while providing a simpler way to enter data and give commands.
Goldfinger connects wirelessly to a computer or other devices and generates power from finger movements using flexible piezoelectric transducers, which reduces weight and the need for power cables. In addition, the sensors, switches, and wiring are built into the fabric of the glove, which makes it feel less like a control mechanism and more like a real glove.
The glove operates by using simple gestures to control different machines and systems. These movements are detected and interpreted by the glove and optical tracking software.
The team sees a number of applications for the Goldfinger glove in the industrial, medical, and virtual reality fields, including factory planet management, as an ergonomic controller for robotic surgery, and simulations for staff training.
The team's results were published by the American Society of Mechanical Engineering.