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The Language of Glove: Wireless gesture decoder with low-power and stretchable hybrid electronics


This communication describes a glove capable of wirelessly translating the American Sign Language (ASL) alphabet into text displayable on a computer or smartphone. The key components of the device are strain sensors comprising a piezoresistive composite of carbon particles embedded in a fluoroelastomer. These sensors are integrated with a wearable electronic module consisting of digitizers, a microcontroller, and a Bluetooth radio. Finite-element analysis predicts a peak strain on the sensors of 5% when the knuckles are fully bent. Fatigue studies suggest that the sensors successfully detect the articulation of the knuckles even when bent to their maximal degree 1,000 times. In concert with an accelerometer and pressure sensors, the glove is able to translate all 26 letters of the ASL alphabet. Lastly, data taken from the glove are used to control a virtual hand; this application suggests new ways in which stretchable and wearable electronics can enable humans to interface with virtual environments. Critically, this system was constructed of components costing less than $100 and did not require chemical synthesis or access to a cleanroom. It can thus be used as a test bed for materials scientists to evaluate the performance of new materials and flexible and stretchable hybrid electronics.

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