Free hands input device

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Revision as of 04:06, 14 April 2009 by Elgreengeeto (talk | contribs)
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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?