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Glove 'keyboard' could revolutionise use of devices with one hand

24 October 2012

Students at The University of Alabama in Huntsville have developed a tool that could herald new ways of using electronic devices with just one hand.

Student, Jiake Liu demonstrates the Gauntley Keyboard (image courtesy of University of Alabama Huntsville)
Student, Jiake Liu demonstrates the Gauntley Keyboard (image courtesy of University of Alabama Huntsville)

It’s called Gauntlet Keyboard (Gauntlet being an acronym for Generally Accessible Universal Nomadic Tactile Low-power Electronic Typist). The glove device functions as a wireless keyboard; instead of tapping keys on a keyboard, the user simply touches their thumb to points on their fingers assigned a letter or other keyboard function.

Conductive thread carries the commands to a matchbox-sized printed circuit board affixed to the back of the glove. 
The PCB transmits it via Bluetooth, whether it’s a computer, a mobile phone, music synthesizer, video game or military device.

Think of the Gauntlet as a touch screen that works by tapping your fingers to your thumb on a gloved hand.
Four senior engineering students at UAH made the glove their senior design project for a computer engineering class led by Dr B Earl Wells.

The students — Jiake Liu, Stephen Doud, Douglas Kirby and Chris Heath — are now seeking a patent to market the product. The project recently won a $20,000 prize from the Best Buy Innovator Fund among hundreds of entries.

“It’s basically a keyboard on your hand,” explained Liu, the principal innovator and a graduate of Grissom High School. “By tapping your thumb on each segment of your fingers, you type to the screen. And you can do a swiping gesture that would erase it.”

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