Make your own instrumented glove

Posted on Feb 5, 2014

A real cheap glove interface, that still achieves considerable accuracy while improving the comfortability. Essentially, I purchased a bunch of PowerGloves (PG`s), took out the flex sensors, inserted them in sheaths on a lycra glove and suit, hooked them up with a multi-channel serial A/D converter and had a host computer sequentially query the serial interface for the value of each sensor in real-time.

Make your own instrumented glove
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These values then were used to control various electronic musical devices. To obtain the PG sensors, make an incision (it almost feels like surgery) inbetween the middle- and the ringfinger and inbetween the index and the thumb, in the glove`s grey soft plastic material. The sensors can be pulled out, sometimes with quite some force (don`t worry, they are quite robust, but don`t fold them over sharply), because the sensors are secured in a transparent plastic sheath. Then they have to be desoldered. The PG sensors are sensitive to flex in one direction only. The principle behind the sensors is fairly simple: one side of the substrate of the sensor is coated with a high resistance ink that increases resistance when stretched. Over this ink patches of low resistance ink are deposited, such that only small transversal strips of the high resistance ink contribute to the stretch effect. The stretch is effected by bending the sensor; one side of the sensor will stretch (a little bit) whilst the other side will compress (a little bit). Unfortunately the ink is far more sensitive to stretch than to compression, hence the unidirectionality. This non-linear behaviour extends into ca. the first 15 degrees of the sensitive direction. Beyond that the resistance changes linearly with the angle and ranges from ca. 100 kOhm to 500 kOhm. In order to avoid this non-linearity it is advisable to employ some sort of pre-loading of the sensor,...

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