Royal College of Art student Yen Chen Chang recently debuted the Knitgadget, a wearable glove that allows users to control various devices, musical or otherwise.
As Engadget‘s Mariella Moon reports, the glove is comprised of conductive yarn that’s 80% polyester and 20% stainless steel (and 100% pure awesomeness). Chang knit and crocheted a series of objects that control devices by rubbing, pulling and stroking. When manipulated, the overlap of the metal fiber causes the textile to change conductivity which is then measured by an Atmel powered Arduino and communicated to the gadgets.
“[The glove is] wired so that it [also] functions as a wearable musical instrument that’s both a keyboard and a guitar. This glove is but one of Chang’s unusual creations designed to control devices without the use of buttons and touchscreens,” Moon writes.
The objects’ sensitivity to change in conductivity is contingent upon on how the textiles are constructed. For instance, a knit which is looser because of its looping is better suited for stretching. This provides objects a bigger range of motion. Whereas something like a weave, which Chang used to produce this pair of conductive gloves, means the fibers are much tighter together thus limiting the range of resistance and giving the textile a more precise function.
“The differences of sensing abilities in each textile sensors are determined by the the level of skill that constructed them, and are suitable for different kinds of motion sensing. This forms a new way to control and interact with electronic objects, and encourage people to reimagine how we use them,” the Maker explains.
This glove is but one of the Maker’s recent projects designed to control devices without the use of buttons and touchscreen — ranging from a ball that can power a juicer to a mat that turns on a small electric fan when you pet it.
Chang believes his yarn could potentially revolutionize wearable computing, and one day dreams of working with clothing companies that in the knitted footwear space.
Interested in learning more? You can check out Wired’s coverage of the Knitgadget, Engadget’s write-up, as well as the project’s official page. Not a big fan of reading? Watch the glove in action below.