Touch As Interface(Group 01)

Power Glove

Natalie Le Huenen, Thomas Graham, Erika Masui Davis

Prototype Description

The power glove is a input device that has the potential to allow you to make 14 possible inputs using the gesture of contacting different fingers to the thumb on one hand. This works by the glove having a pressure-sensitive piece of fabric on each fingertip, and a conductive fabric on the thumb. The input is created by connecting the thumb fabric through a wire to the voltage, and each finger to a arduino pin/voltage divider which is connected to ground, thus creating a complete circuit upon a finger and thumb touching. The various inputs can be possible because the pressure sensor allows us to give the computer additional information, and each finger circuit as well as all the possible multiple circuits can be recognized as different inputs. 

Along with the power glove, we created an output that could showcase its capabilities. This output is a game that features a bland body in a 3D environment and generates different facial features upon detecting input. There are 30 facial features in total that all get randomized in size, resulting in quite a few possible results.

For this prototype, the glove was made fairly successfully – it was able to detect different finger inputs(although the middle and index finger had a weak signal) and multiple finger inputs and display a reading of the status of each finger on the computer. The game was finished as well, but we were not able to completely implement it with the glove due to problems with our code in Unity.

Circuit Layout or Circuit Schematic



Supporting Visuals




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Process Journal

September 19th 2017 – Brainstorming

We brainstormed input and output ideas whilst finding other projects that were similar to our ideas. We created three lists; input, output and discovery and put in rough concept points for each which we summarized at the end:

Input Ideas

  • Conductive fabric
  • Glove => controller for unity
  • Glove => mouse /possibly keyboard
  • Thumb is ground, other finger is connected to sensor
  • Purchase work glove for adjustable size and pre-made base glove
  • Hand is large button, thumb is sensor and fingers are conductive material that send a signal when touched with glove.
  • 4 pins, different output,  4 keyboard/controller/mouse inputs
  • Variable voltage/cell battery/less fabric-> less resistance
  • Always sending 4 float values ///or pair set of values(active+current value)//
  • Sewing machine/fabricating (master Nat)
  • Pressure detective setup for each pin/finger.

★ In summary: Connect arduino to unity with keyboard output using a glove that has 4 outputs through the sensor on the thumb and 4 conductive pieces on each finger.

Output Ideas

  • Feedback is for specific program(?)
  • Use fermata to connect Arduino and processing/unity/other output program
  • USB connect to computer, connect to Unity
  • Dating anime characters/snapping/
  • Possibly make it keyboard
  • Get keyboard and break it open
  • Create unity output(game or something)
  • Unity 4 keyboard game
  • Interactive aquarium

★ In summary: Create Unity game/interactive media that works with the keyboard inputs made by the glove.


  • The possibility of a Unity/Arduino Connection. This inspired us to use Unity as an output source, as we have some experience with it.  
  • The discovery of a device of similar concept, an ergonomic glove mouse: influenced us to change our project direction from a mouse output to a keyboard, as this product is already available for $129 USD, and we wanted to experiment with a slightly new/different contraption.
  • Available online tutorials for a Live2D(animation software)/Unity Connection provided us with the possibility of creating animations to suit our project vision for our Unity interactive media/game output.
  • Various glove making options/processes introduced us to  different fabrics that can be used for the glove:
  • Looking at these references also allowed us to find rules, such as- “When purchasing conductive fabric the unit of resistance will be listed as Ohm/Sq or Ω /▢, meaning Ohms per Square.This unit of measurement calculates the sheet resistance of a material.” 
  • We also made discoveries by ourselves from discussion and analyzing – such as the decision of conversion for 2 types of USB inputs(image above).


  • One challenge was deciding on a core concept/methods of input/output as there were many options.
  • Another challenge was to consider working within limits as some ambitions were not possible with the limits of the arduino – although some parts could be improvised

September 20th 2017 – Starting the Prototyping of the prototype

  • We created a rough prototype using wires, a rubber glove, coins and electrical tape. This glove was made to get a idea of the circuitry required to make a sensor-glove.
  • Two versions of the prototype were made, one with coins as contacts, which did not fit well with the organic form of the hand inside a glove.
  • The second version had pressure-sensitive fabrics as contacts, which blended much better to the glove.
  • Alligator clips were used to switch between different components(such as LEDs) as they allowed quick switches and more experimentation.

Displaying Pic01.png

September 21st 2017 – Creating a Concrete Base

Group Discussion and Feedback Notes

  • (Suggestion) to narrow ambitions and simplify project to fit time frame
  • Borrow a projector + extend wires to add space from glove and laptop
  • Since there was too much noise in the glove/arduino connection, we received the advice of using the internal ground resistor in the arduino from the teacher
  • The “Internal pullup resistor” could be downloaded from the arduino website, when setting pinmode input_pullup =>it activates tiny resistors inside arduino=//and instead of connecting to power, it must connect to ground.
  • Using stiff material instead of a stretchy rubber/knitted glove material was also suggested as to not risk breaking the circuit on the glove.
  • We expanded our output possibilities that were realistic – creating a interactive character with 14 reactions, creating a face generator with different 2d assets in 3d, controlling full 3d character limbs with each finger on the gloves-this could extend into 2 gloves creating a fighting simulator like sumotori dreams- and a face generator with photographs including your own face parts and faces of celebrities.
  • The decided our output to be a face generator, as we could use the pressure sensor to our advantage to increase the size of the features on the face, and change the facial elements when pushing different fingers against the thumb(this also seemed like the most amusing option).

Displaying Pic01.png

September 25th – Working on the final project and problem-solving

  • Problem: When connecting the glove to the arduino, it did not work.
  • Cause: There was too much noise, the alligator clips and insecure connection were most likely at fault.
  • The arduino/computer(Unity) connection went well: the function of requesting change upon detecting change and using a grow function upon detecting the same input went successfully(2 arrays that inform the computer of their states, which will be later increased to follow each finger on the glove)
  • Problem: Using a material that would give a good connection between the arduino and glove. (possibly aluminum, hot glue gun(insulator))
  • Solution: Using the original prototype glove as a reference to circuitry and recreating the same circuit using better connection, void of alligator clips to get better signal, on a new glove.
  • Testing one finger of the first prototype glove did not work at first(which we assumed was due to poor connection) but adding the correct resistor(lower) allowed the connection to work (10k).
  • New problem- adding in all the fingers(input) resulted in just one pin responding despite there being connections to different Pins on the arduino.
  • Problem-solving: Perhaps there’s a problem in code(?)
  • (during problem-solving)We also realized – to prevent circuit from going backwards, a diode must be added.
  • Solution: Upon asking the teacher, we were suggested to add a resistor for each pin.
  • Coding challenge: When trying to make a variety of outputs, and different outputs for multiple types of input, it was difficult to make the computer to have conditions for inputs that involve the same pin to create a specific output.(when you want one input to do one thing and multiple inputs including that input to do something specific)
  • Problem: When sowing on the glove, the material was too thick and caused friction and to get it through just one side of the glove and not both.
  • Solution: Using a coin inside the glove so the needle is directed upwards.

September 67th – Working on individual components of the project

  • Finishing drawing all the visual assets for the output game.
  • Sowing the final glove to conductive material.
  • Coding the game.

September 27th- Putting things together

  • We shared our work on the finished assets, and tried to complete the final circuit by combining the glove-area circuit and arduino-computer circuit. We imported all the art assets into the game and modified it as well.
  • Using the new circuit on the new glove, we tried to connect it to the arduino and tried to get it to detect inputs to generate outputs.
  • Problem: The change in voltage that the glove made was too little for the computer to detect.
  • Solution: We changed the resistor to 220k(after experimenting and using a multi meter several times) and rearranged the circuits(We had another classmate aid us).
  • Unfortunately, our project would go back from working to not. We succeeded in getting signals from the glove and completing the game, but we could not fix the code in order to integrate the inputs created by the glove into the game.

pic05Displaying Pic01.png

Project Context & Bibliography

Our project explores the nonstandard forms of input using natural tools such as the human hand.

Early on, we were thinking of the possibilities of this project becoming an ergonomic mouse. We discovered that a Canadian firm Deanmark Ltd.  had created the AirMouse, which is a “wireless mouse that utilizes an optical lazer” that “works by aligning itself with the ligaments of your hand and wrist” and “keeps your hand in a neutral position, and transmits more of your vector force than would be possible with a regular mouse”  which “make it easier on your hand,” as well as “increase your mousing speed and accuracy”(Coxworth, 01).  Additionally, this glove can currently be purchased for $US129.00. This discovery made us lose interest in developing the glove for the purpose as an ergonomic mouse, as concepts that were more competent were already developed and sold.

Another project our glove is similar to is the power glove made by Nintendo, which “can either provide information on its absolute position (location in space) or relative motion (like a joystick). In addition to hand position, the Glove also independently senses the position of each finger except the little finger.”(Williams, 02) How these capabilities are possible, are explained by so by Williams: “To determine its location and orientation, the Power Glove emits an ultrasonic pulse from one of two transmitters located on the Glove unit. The Glove measures the time delays between its transmission of a pulse and the reception by each of three receivers in the sensor array. Using the speed of sound in air, the Glove position is computed via three-dimensional triangulation. The difference in the locations of the transmitters is used to compute the rotation (roll) of the hand.” Despite being released in 1989, the capacities of this glove are surprising. Though the concept of our glove, of using hand gestures for game interfaces are similar, the way in which we create data are completely different. Our glove has a much simpler construction, and cannot create all the data the Nintendo Power glove can, but is made of much cheaper materials, provides different data(pressure) and has the potential to made 14 total outputs. We also believed the original game aspect of this project could make this project a little more unique and fun.

Conclusively, we wanted to create a interesting and unusual experience using the material introduced in class. Our further concept was to explore nonstandard forms of input using natural tools such as the hand. This is why we wanted the glove to feel natural, sewing on the wires on the glove instead of clipping/gluing/taping them on. We also sowed the sensors and conductive fabric carefully, inverting the fabric after sowing it and applying a simulated silk fabric on the inside of the fabric to make the glove feel more comfortable. The assets for game were also all made with hand-drawn artwork by one of the group members, to emphasize this project as being a art project, and to make the game more unique. We also adjusted the coding in the game to make the character seem like it is breathing, which helped make the game more strange, and create a more interesting experience.



Williams, Marie., Green, Paul., “Interfacing the Nintendo Power Glove to a Macintosh Computer “, 1990, The University of Michigan.

Coxworth, Ben., “Airmouse – The mouse that fits you like a Glove”, 2010, New Atlas.


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