Lighter, softer gaming glove features liquid metal sensors
Video game-controlling gloves may be nothing new, but the things do still tend to be relatively heavy and rigid. That could soon change, however, when and if the lightweight, flexible InfinityGlove reaches the market.
Currently in development at the National University of Singapore, the glove contains five thread-like sensors, each one running down the length of a separate finger.
The sensors are each about the width of a human hair, and are composed of a stretchable rubbery hollow fiber filled with a conductive liquid metal. A light electrical current is constantly run through that metal, and monitored by software on a wirelessly connected computer.
When the user bends their finger, the fiber stretches, displacing some of the metal within. This causes a drop in the strength of the electrical current, which is detected and digitally associated with a movement of that finger. Therefore, by simultaneously monitoring the signal strength of all five sensors, the software is able to determine the user's three-dimensional hand gestures.
So far, 11 such gestures have been mapped and assigned to specific functions on a traditional video game controller. This has made it possible for users to play games such as Battlefield V, performing actions such as squeezing their index finger to fire a virtual gun, and rotating their wrist clockwise to move forward.
The present prototype weighs about 40 grams, although that figure may drop as the technology is developed further. It could ultimately find use not only in gaming, but also in applications such as rehabilitative therapy for patients with hand problems.
The glove is now being commercialized through spinoff company Microtube Technologies, which was founded by lead scientist Prof. Lim Chwee Teck and team members Dr. Yeo Joo Chuan and Dr. Yu Longteng. It should be noted that Switzerland's ETH Zurich research institute is also working a stretch-sensing glove, that could be used in gaming.
You can see the InfinityGlove prototype in use, in the video below.
Source: National University of Singapore