Using Pressure to Track Finger Position

This project was conducted in 1997 while I was still an undergraduate at the University of Washington. As part of some discretionary research elective EE399 course I chose to build a glove that tracked the absolute position of the hand.

These days the AR and VR applications are obvious, but back then explaining that I was making a crazy looking glove because I wanted to walk around in virtual world was just shy of enough to get committed for a long weekend someplace nice with padded walls. I guess its kind of funny that 5 years later I was going to grad school in a lab full of people working on Virtual and Augmented reality.

In the end I chose to use the changes in pressure when a sealed chamber was deformed in order to infer how the chamber was deformed. To prove the concept I used sealed tubes running along the backs of the finger to measure bend angle, but the technique is applicable for measuring all sorts of deformation.

Here is a PDF copy of the posters I had in ISWC98.

As you can see this was a pretty crude prototype. It was constructed on a dish-washing glove with tubes from fish tank and industrial automotive pressure sensors. I had an idea and function was higher on my priority list then beauty. Even with the crudeness of the prototype I was blown away at how well the technique worked.