The new electronic glove from Swiss engineers takes gesture recognition technology to an unprecedented level compared to existing designs. In addition, the device operates in complete darkness, and its manufacturing and operating costs promise to be temptingly low.
The technology is based on the idea of fixing the deformation in a flexible layer of silicone, which is fixed over a soft tissue base. The glove has 44 sensors that accurately measure displacements in the sensitive layer when the fingers are moved. The sensors are connected to the processing unit, but the whole structure remains light and comfortable to wear.
The advantages of such a system are that it does not need external cameras or other measuring devices to capture gestures. All work takes place autonomously, in any light conditions, with minimal energy consumption. Alas, the Achilles heel of the prototype is hidden in this - the sensors are located only in the area of the hand and record the movements of the fingers. But the system does not know the position of the hand relative to the human body - it will accurately reproduce the pointing gesture, but it will miss where it should be directed.
The technology is experimental, but in the future it may find application in various fields - in virtual and augmented realities, in manufacturing, in science and art. The developers are set to show the prototype at the SIGGRAPH 2019 conference in Los Angeles later this month. There will also be an interface that helps train users to work with the glove.