Free hands input device
So this idea is still in the rough exploratory phase. What I'd like to have is a way to input text that:
- can be used anywhere and doesn't require a surface to work with.
- doesn't require radical rearrangement to engage in normal activities (picking things up, etc.)
- isn't particularly difficult to learn how to use.
- it sounds like a pair of gloves would would make the best armature
- I'd like a full qwerty keyboard, but finding that many finger positions would be difficult.
- with 4 fingers on each hand, it conveniently translates into some nice binary mappings.
Switches will probably be the limiting factor for functionality. I've been looking at a couple of different types:
- reed switches
- Pro: clear activation, relatively easy to actuate
- Con: made of glass, kind of long and large for a fingertip, not terribly cheap
- tactile switches
- Pro: Really cheap, small and discrete, clear activation
- Con: hard to actuate, hard to connect up
- roller ball switches
- Pro: clear activation, unique operation
- Con: much too large for fingertips but may be used in back of hand.
- Conductive fabric (homemade) switches
- Pro: very discrete, entirely appropriate for gloves
- Con: no activation feedback, potentially questionable/finicky contact.
- Electrodes (to measure muscle activity)
- Pro: small, discrete, cheap
- Con: Probably needs conductive gel, very noisy signals/activation
If we can connection controls in, we can repurpose a keyboard USB adapter to connect up with the outside world. If we decide to go with a chord-style keyboard, we'd have to come up with a translation mapping to the keyboard-usb inputs. Maybe some reverse charlieplexing or something?