To be showcased at CES, the smart glove was developed as part of an innovative project between the Wireless Sensor Networks group at Tyndall National Institute, Ireland and project leads Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG) in Waterford Institute of Technology. Bray based, Product and Interaction Design Consultancy, Design Partners, were engaged as human factors engineering and industrial design experts for the project.
“The smart glove for HCI is a culmination of over a decade of research in the development of motion sensing for the human body and incorporates the latest sensing technologies needed to bridge the human and digital worlds of Augmented/Virtual Reality and robotics” wrote Dr Brendan O’Flynn, Head of Tyndall’s Wireless Sensor Networks group, in an email exchange with eeNews Europe.
“As opposed to traditional video gaming, where the visual sense is the only significant sense that plays a role in the application, in Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) applications, the vestibular, proprioception and tactile senses are important. VR/AR systems thus demand accurate and low-latency Human Computer Interface (HCI) systems to avoid motion sickness effects”.
As well as all the required sensors and actuators, the modular smart glove incorporates novel software, data-analytics, data fusion algorithms, auto-calibration regimes and power control regimes, to optimise the user experience. It has been designed to be easy to use, wear and wash.
“Embedded data fusion algorithms and auto-calibration techniques ensure precision analysis of fingers motion at an output rate from 100 to 700Hz, faster than that of any competitor. Because the algorithms run on the microsystem within the glove no additional processing power is required on the gaming console making it compatible with lower-cost infrastructure”, noted O’Flynn.
The smart glove integrates 12 inertial sensors to account for all the degrees of freedom of the hand. It integrates ten tactile feedback actuators which can simulate tactile events in the virtual world. In addition, it integrates 11 IR-LEDs for 3D-positioning camera-based tracking that also aim to improve the accuracy of the joint angles and absolute position estimation.
Wireless connectivity is provided by Wi-Fi and Bluetooth standards to ensure compatibility with all gaming and AR/VR platforms, with Unity-compatible outputs.
Based on standard USB connectivity, the modular construction allows for low-cost manufacture and the easy repair or replacement of finger segments to adapt for different gaming experiences, so users can build their own system in an organic fashion. This means the one-size-fits-all plug-and-play system can easily be adaptable to both right and left hands.
Funded by Enterprise Ireland as part of its Commercialization Fund Scheme, prototypes of the glove have been used by surgeons for medical training in a virtual environment, but the device could also be used for remote-learning, as well as helping educators work in a virtual environment. This sort of technology can also be used for sports coaching, musicianship or any other learning environment where precise movements are essential.
Tyndall National Institute – www.tyndall.ie
Design Partners – www.designpartners.com
TSSG – www.tssg.org