The Somatic Data Glove Is a Wearable Keyboard/Mouse for Our Cyberpunk Future

Zack Freedman's device translates hand signs and motions into actions, like the somatic component of a spell in Dungeons and Dragons.

Jeremy Cook
3 years agoWearables

Smartphones and smartwatches allow us to absorb information more readily than ever before, but actually controlling these gadgets can be cumbersome at times. While perhaps many of us will always prefer a physical keyboard, Zack Freedman's Somatic Data Glove could be the next best thing. This device senses left-hand finger positions and tracks overall movements with a 9-DOF IMU.

The Somatic is constructed on top of a weightlifting glove, with four Hall effect sensors mounted in the knuckle area. The magnets reside in holders that flex with the wearer’s fingers, enabling the Hall effect sensors to "see" when each finger is straight — like some sort of magical “somatic” spell in Dungeons and Dragons. Wiring from each sensor is threaded into “gutted” lengths of paracord, feeding into a wrist-mounted control unit with a Teensy board inside.

The idea is to eventually be able to operate any wearable computer with a heads-up display using the glove, and to do so without being dependent on an Internet connection. Notably, it won’t reproduce your hand in 3D space, but aims for a different type of interface altogether, using TensorFlow Lite to help interpret motions.

Although such an interface is still a long way off, it looks great, with a definite cyberpunk feel, as modeled by our very own Alex Glow. You can find code and more hardware info on Freedman's GitHub page.

Jeremy Cook
Engineer, maker of random contraptions, love learning about tech. Write for various publications, including Hackster!
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