Glove 7- Perfboard and on/off switch

A project log for Wearable Computer Rig & Powerglove Mouse

Inspired by Martin Magnusson's wearable computer, I've refined the display, and modified a Nintendo Powerglove to be the complete interface!

Scott SScott S 06/13/2015 at 03:050 Comments

Sorry for the long delay in updates. I’m currently working as part of a team for a large project at Makerfaire Detroit 2015, and that is taking up most of my project time.

Now, while I was tweaking the boom arm, I was simultaneously working on the electronics. While I do not have any experience yet laying out etched circuit boards, in my efforts to keep the project on schedule to complete by Penguicon 2015, I decided to go with what I knew- perfboards. With the four bend sensors, and the x&y wires from the joystick I ended up using every analog pin on the Arduino Micro. At the makerspace, I had found a led mounted inside of a momentary switch. My plan would be that it would allow me to have the glove output commands to the computer only when the button led was lit. Depressing the button would toggle the led and glove output on and off. I used digital pins 11 and D12 to control the button and LED respectively. The button uses a pulldown resistor.

I used fritzing to lay out my perfboard. I'll be honest, the layout could have been less cluttered,and simplified in terms of resistor use but I had a time crunch.

In the images of the physical perfboard below, you can see the awkward shape of it. The backhand unit of the powerglove has an odd, trapezoid-esque shape. It took a fair amount of cutting to get the board to the right shape.

I desoldered the ultrasonic speakers on the front of the glove, and hot glued them into place, to maintain a stock-ish appearance.

I soldered the eight flex sensor wires to two banks of .1” headers- one for the red wires, and the other bank for the rest of the colors.

While resistors (and flex sensors) can work in either direction, I never bothered to pair each of the red wires with its corresponding other-colored wire.Thankfully, each flex sensor has only one red wire. I would just use code to assign each arduino input to the function I wanted.

However, for the record, here is the following flex sensor wire colors:

thumb-dark blue



ring-light blue/teal

In the images, you can see an additional momentary switch near the arduino’s analog pins. I had intended it to act as a backup on/off switch, but the project ended up going in a different direction. I’ve removed that from my fritizing diagram.

I used a dremel to make a rectangular hole in the right side of the backhand case, in order to make room for the eight connectors and wires that go to the LED button & switch, and the psp joystick.

Also, I had difficulty mounting the micro usb male connector. I took a standard usb male to usb micro male cable, and removed the plastic enclosure near the usb micro side, in order to make the wire bend angle more severe. I hotglued the usb cable into the hole where the backhand unit to wrist unit cable used to be.

Now, to close the backhand unit's case.

I had initially overlooked the fact that the usb micro connector’s position was directly underneath a valley in the top of the powerglove, called out in the yellow rectangle. This valley greatly reduced the space available for my perfboard, and made the backhand unit impossible to close with the mini usb connector in place. So, after a suggestion from a fellow member and the makerspace, I put a heatgun to plastic panel, and hit both sides with a small,heavy, flat piece of metal, repeatedly. This worked surprisingly well, and the top of the backhand unit is now flat, and the cover could now close!

Sadly, by using the heat gun, the front area (marked in red) contracted, leaving an oval gap on the front side (with the circular openings for the ultrasonic speakers) when the backhand unit is closed. For appearances sake, I put a piece of black electrical tape over the gap, and the reflectivity of the tape is similar enough to the plastic that it is difficult to differentiate them.

Lastly, after the glove was functioning when the backhand case was open, I tried using the powerglove, when the backhand unit cover was closed and tightened. No response from the glove. After inspecting the perfboard for a while to find some kind of wiring that loosened, I realized that the cover was pressing down on the reset button of the arduino micro! I epoxied two washers around the red part of the button, directly onto the metal button case. This would allow me to continue to use the button in the future, by pressing a pen against it. This successfully relieved the pressure on the red part of the button, and the glove finally was functionally complete!

I added hot glue to the eight wires coming out of the side of the backhand unit for strength, shortened the usb cable by looping it with zipties and placed a few cable management wire wraps around the various wires on the glove to improve appearance.

Next, I’ll delve into the final code for the glove.