Hacked Gadgets Forum

May 19, 2006

Top 5 DIY Glove Keyboards

at 7:29 pm. Filed under Computer Hacks, DIY Hacks, Top 5 and Top 10

The Acceleration Sensing Glove (virtual keyboard) was created by some students at the University of California, Berkeley. I can think of lots of other cool applications for this other than just typing.

“An Analog Devices 2 axis ADXL 202 accelerometer is placed on top of each finger on the glove. Additionally, a sixth accelerometer is placed on the back of the hand. The analog signals from the accelerometers are digitized by an Atmel AVR microcontroller, which in turn sends the data to the computer via the serial port. The hardware supports wireless transmission of the data over RF but currently that capability has not been demonstrated.”


This glove is so clean looking it reminds me of Michael Jackson 🙂 Check out the full description of the KeyGlove.

Watch the Video

“The KeyGlove uses the electronics from an old keyboard. A keyboard is more or less a 16 x 8 grid. When you press a key, you short out a row with a column, and the electronics translate this into a number which is sent to the computer. The glove works by hooking up each of the rows and columns to press-studs, which the user then touches together to generate a keypress.”


This KeyGlove seems to be quite easy to build, and the total cost is quite low!

” 21 Dritz nickel “snap on” 3/8″ snaps from local fabric store ($5)
1 pair of black leather gloves from Wilson Leather ($20)
1 CompUSA 101 Key keyboard model #MKB931 ($15)
1 spool wire wrap wire from Radio Shack ($3)
(Douglas J.A.R. Sasse suggested: doll house wire)
1 spool of black heavy duty thread ($1)
10+ plastic zip ties ($1)”


The Thumbcode Glove was born in Stanford University. There is a full paper available on the site about the creation of the glove.

“Thumbcode is a device independent digital sign language. Device independence means that it is designed to work with a wide variety of devices. One early device we have experimented with is the Thumbcode Glove, shown below.”


The Data Glove uses IR LEDs to read finger positions. There is a complete parts list and code to make your own on the site.

“The basic operation of the glove is a simple voltage divider. The emitter end of the sensor sends light to the detector. Depending on the position of your finger you will get somewhere between full light and no light. This varies the resistance of the detector thus changing the voltage at Vout according to the light received. This simple concept is used to create the dataglove sensors.”


One extra glove for good measure… Dennis Crowley used flex sensors in his Keyboard Glove to get rid of his keyboard. He provides full source code and a parts list on his site.

“The flex sensor behaved in a fairly predicatable pattern, and when connected to ground via two 100 Ohm resistors gave me a range of 0-20. When the sensor was attached to the glove, I found that when the hand was “at rest” (flat with finger spread out), the average flex was around 15. I soon starting writing BasicX code which would check the current flex reading and compare it to this average to determine whether the finger was raised or lowered. ”