Computer engineering students at The University of Alabama in Huntsville have designed a glove device that functions as a wireless keyboard.
Called a Gauntlet Keyboard, the tool could revolutionise new ways of using electronic devices with just one hand, according to the scientists.
Instead of tapping keys on a keyboard, the user simply touches their thumb to points on their fingers assigned a letter or other keyboard function.
Conductive thread carries the commands to a matchbox-sized Printed Circuit Board (PCB) affixed to the back of the glove
The PCB transmits it via Bluetooth, whether it’s a computer, a mobile phone, music synthesiser, video game or military device. Think of the Gauntlet as a touch screen that works by tapping your fingers to your thumb on a gloved hand.
Four senior engineering students at UAH made the glove their senior design project for a computer engineering class led by Dr. B. Earl Wells.
The students — Jiake Liu, Stephen Dond, Douglas Kirby and Chris Heath — are now seeking a patent to market the product. The project recently won a $20,000 prize from the Best Buy Innovator Fund among hundreds of entries.
“It’s basically a keyboard on your hand. You, by tapping your thumb on each segment of your fingers, type to the screen basically. And you can do a swiping gesture that would erase it,” explained Lui, the principal innovator.
Gauntlet is an acronym for Generally Accessible Universal Nomadic Tactile Low-power Electronic Typist. That’s a lengthy description of what essentially is a glove with a beehive of conductive threads running throughout the fingers and palm
The students were assisted in their initial work by Huntsville electronics firm ADTRAN after entering it in the company’s senior design showcase. The company assisted largely with the micro soldering of the PCB parts
The young designers are excited about the possibilities for the Gauntlet.
“There are several applications we can think of right now. The easy one would be as a keyboard for the consumer market. Also, the medical field for people limited to one hand from a disability. We can also think of military uses, as an entertainment device or used as a musical instrument for digital synthesising,” Liu said.