Haptic Glove Update — March 21, 2017

Haptic Glove Update

The haptic glove project is progressing nicely!

At the beginning of the year, we decided to branch out a bit from our previous design to explore other solutions. However, we have returned to a largely similar design with some key modifications. The new glove is almost entirely made of 3d-printed parts, uses new communication protocols and tracking algorithms, and now integrates with Unity!

We have already printed most of the glove and have been working on mounting components. The next steps are finishing up the finger exoskeleton design and integrating it with the rest of the glove. The exoskeleton should be one of the more interesting improvements in this prototype. Instead of extending the Exo along the sides of the fingers to create joints, it now runs exclusively across the top. The new mechanism creates what we call “virtual joints” outside of its physical structure that allows it to move freely with the finger while maintaining its internal structure. This allows us to create pressure just at the fingertip without using the user’s own fingers for leverage.

On the software side, we are currently focusing on smoothing out the motion of the servos and improving the reliability of the force measurements. Instead of modifying servos to read their position, we are using external force sensors. While it adds a bit of complexity, it greatly reduces the twitchiness of the glove. This also means our communication system is a lot cleaner. Now, instead of sending full coordinates and force data back and forth, we just send position values to Unity and Unity responds with a target force. Unity builds a model finger from the glove’s positional tracking and calculates the required force on each joint that will result in a realistic experience. This system cuts back on the amount of data that is sent back and forth and improves the speed of the overall simulation.

We are finishing up integrating all of these parts and hope to have a full demo online by mid-April.

Using an ultrasonic sensor to test the glove — January 11, 2016

Using an ultrasonic sensor to test the glove

I read an article the other day about using a very simple haptic glove to sense objects that someone cannot see. The use for this specific glove is rescue workers in floods that need to sense underwater objects. I thought this was pretty interesting and it reminded me of a Y-combinator hardware hackathon project that was a proof of concept of haptic technology. I think, using an ultrasonic range finding array, this could be a good proof of concept for the different glove ideas. Next year, I am trying to take a class in school called Projects in CS where you present an idea and then spend the semester working on it. Since this is a very limited timeframe, a simpler proof of concept project like this one could be perfect.

Processing — June 30, 2015


Over the past few days I have been doing a lot of work with Processing. Processing is a Java-based language focused on visualization. I have been working on 2D and 3D displays with arrays. These are in preparation for programming the stretch sensing material I recently sketched out. This would be for the glove. Yesterday I focused on trilateration. This is commonly known as triangulation (they are different though) and involved using three known points and distances to find a fourth point. This would be used in the sensing fabric to locate each point in the fabric from a central series of points. I am planning on using this program to locate the points on the glove and then exporting these coordinates to Unity. Unity would then be able to map out the entire hand of the user. I think this is a good step forwards in creating this sensing fabric.

Form Pixels — February 9, 2015

Form Pixels

Came up with this idea a few days ago. Using Electropermanent magnets, one could create “pixels” that can interact with one another based on charge. These interactions on a 2D surface such as fabric, could create a material that can flex and stretch in different ways. It would do so by creating “shapes,” with edges created when two pixels repel (have the same charge), and with the actual solid shape created with a checkerboard pattern of charges. Due to these properties, there are restrictions on what shapes can be created. If you think about a “shape” as having edges between pixels, there are certain rules for how shapes can be formed.


When creating shapes, any point between pixels can have either 0, 2, or 4 lines stemming from it. It cannot have 1 or 3 lines stemming from it. This is because either 1 or 3 lines can create an issue in the arrangement of charges.

One can create intricate shapes or larger composite shapes. These larger shapes can be combined to create lines or structures that can react to shear forces.


Haptic Gauntlet Beta Testing — November 4, 2014

Haptic Gauntlet Beta Testing

Thought I would post this video to show what we are really working on with the haptic glove. This video was posted in August and was probably taken about two weeks into our work on the glove. It shows one finger working with tracking and force feedback. All of the sensing and feedback was done through two servos that we modified to have access to their internal potentiometers. The onboard processing was done using an arduino mounted on the arm. All of this was powered by a rechargeable battery pack. The arduino was connected through a USB serial connection to the computer. The value processing and graphics were created with and run in Processing 2.0. The control surface was re-positionable using the arrow keys. This prototype software featured finger tracking and rendering with collision detection and force feedback. All of the hardware and software was created by me, Elias B, and Cade D. Thanks for watching and I will continue to post updates for the glove and related projects.


Calculations for MMPPF extension distances — October 30, 2014
Quick Sketch of Morphing Material to Provide Pressure Feedback (MMPPF) — October 29, 2014

Quick Sketch of Morphing Material to Provide Pressure Feedback (MMPPF)

Material Matrix

This is a quick sketch of a material that can morph to provide pressure in select areas. Each purple diamond is a segment that can be pushed out via current that is applied to the lettered segments. For example, if current was applied to lines A and B and line 2 was connected to ground, the top left purple segment would rise from the material. This sort of material could be useful in haptic technologies where localized pressure was needed. If the inside of a glove was made of this material, one could be made to feel an object pressing into their palm.

The extension distance of the purple diamonds is directly related to the size of the “pixels.” If the distance from line 1 to line 2 along line A is regarded as the dimensions of a “pixel” and assigned to value x, then the maximum extension of the purple diamond in that pixel is defined by the equation (3/8)*sqr((x*x)/2)