Haptic Wrist Rangefinder Pt. 3 – Glove Components

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One of our main displays for the DIY Tech section is the Haptic Wrist Rangefinder, modelled off of Steve Hoefer‘s MAKE:Project called TacitThe rangefinder uses ultrasonic sensors to determine its distance from objects, and then translates that distance into haptic (touch-based) feedback, with servomotors that provide light pressure on your wrist corresponding to the object’s proximity. For more information on how the technology actually works, check out the Haptic Wrist Rangefinder Pt 1!

Acquiring all the electronic components is just one half of the process in making the haptic rangefinder, as you also need a glove to stick them to. We decided to use neoprene to make a slip-on glove with velcro tabs to tighten or loosen the glove around the wearer’s forearm, and we used an old laptop sleeve as the source of the neoprene.

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Glove prototyping - We started by trialling a simple design using the decorated front of the laptop sleeve, just to get the sizing right for the thumb hole and width.

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Glove cutting - Once our design was set, we used the other half of the laptop sleeve (which wasn’t decorated) to cut the glove shape from. Since our pattern was so simple, this just involved cutting the thumb hole, tidying up some of the edges, and trimming it to the right length. Above you can see the neoprene form before we cleaned up the edges and trimmed it short.

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Component mounting - neoprene, being stretchy and flexible, would cause lots of problems if we tried to mount the arduino, sensors, and motors directly onto it. To get around that, we formed mounting plates out of Sculpey (a polymer clay that you can bake to harden) fitted for the various components we required. Those components can be glued onto the Sculpey plates, and the plates can be attached to the neoprene with adhesive velcro sheets (which we sewed onto the neoprene for additional strength. Below you can see how the servomotors and ultrasonic sensors rest on the Sculpey plate that will be positioned on the back of the user’s hand.

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Now that we have all the components ready, we can begin assembling everything into the operational rangefinder for our exhibit!

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