Researchers from the National University of Singapore have developed a smart glove that replaces conventional handheld devices for gaming.
Inspired by Thanos’s Infinity Gauntlet in the Marvel Universe, the Infinity Glove essentially puts “power” into the user’s hand, allowing them to mimic in-game controls through simple gestures.
The Infinity Glove weaves ultra-thin, highly sensitive microfiber sensors into its material, eliminating common issues with traditional controllers such as weight and flexibility. The current prototype weighs only 40 grams.
Each glove contains five sensors — one for each finger — which interface with the game being played to produce 3D positions of a moving hand. Gestures made by the user are then mapped to specific inputs found on a typical controller.
Another key component is the conductive liquid metal that fills the sensors’ microfibers. This allows for small electric currents to run and create a reading signal, which changes when the fibers are bent and when the liquid metal is displaced.
The current prototype has an eight-hour battery life and can be charged via micro-USB. It is also washable as the sensors happen to be carefully sealed.
The wireless prototype took two years to develop.
“We were very much inspired by the need to remotely control tasks with just hand gestures,” lead researcher Lim Chwee Teck, director of the NUS Institute for Health Innovation & Technology, said in a statement. “Current commercially available technology is not very responsive and causes a strain on the user’s hands after prolonged use due to their bulky setup. We envision that gesture-based control using our lightweight smart gloves can bring us one step closer to a truly immersive interface between humans and machines.”
The Infinity Glove is seen as a promising aid for hand rehabilitation since it would allow patients to continue exercises through immersive play. The researchers are also looking into extending the glove’s capabilities in virtual reality, complex games and robotic control.
Lim estimates the glove to retail between $200-300 Singapore dollars ($146-219). If all goes well, it can be sold commercially by next year, according to AsiaOne.
Feature Images via National University of Singapore