Glove Manufacturer and Keyglove Kit Developments
Greetings, Keyglove fans!
I've been busy on multiple fronts for a while yet again, so here's an update that will bring you all up to speed.
Perhaps most important to the overall progress of the Keyglove is the headway that I've made on the glove manufacturing front. In the last update around Christmas, if you recall, I mentioned that I'd located a manufacturing company that looked promising. Since then, I've been contacted by someone from a different company local to the United States, and so far the conversations are going very well. Not only is my contact at the company personable and helpful in general, but he is also so interested and enthusiastic about the Keyglove project that he actually contacted me to find out if he could help in any way. He is thorough and he definitely knows his glove stuff. He even sent me some samples from his company to show the quality and durability (understanding that the design required by the Keyglove would be notably different). The company makes some great stuff.
Since we're still discussing possibilities, I can't provide more details at this point, but I am very excited about what could come of our conversations--and sooner, rather than later. I hope to know more within a week. I've included a photo showing one of the simple reference designs I sent to him showing the placement of touch sensors on the side of the glove. You can find this and many more Keyglove diagrams in this photo album.
Keyglove Kit Developments
Although I have been working on both hardware and software in recently, a major step relevant to at least a few of you is the creation of a DIY-friendly Keyglove Kit circuit board. The design is not tested yet since the PCB fabrication is still pending, but it's very promising. The ultimate goal is to create a fully unified and self-contained controller board that is pre-mounted and connected to the glove unit, but for those interested in building their own, making modifications, or just understanding each individual module, the kit approach is another option. (Not to mention the fact that it will be available before the polished retail version, due to the smaller amount of work that has to go into it.)
A few of the individual modules will still need to be pre-assembled by me or someone else due to the required surface-mount components, but for those of you who want to order a Teensy++ programmable microcontroller board from PJRC and a 6DOF motion detection module from SparkFun--and for those of you who signed up for a kit--this board is a giant step in the right direction. One of the hardest parts about prototyping or building your own is making sure all of the bzillion connections are correct. This board takes care of all of that by building the connections into PCB traces, or breaking out the required external connections (glove sensors) into clearly labeled right-angle male headers. The rest of the modules just get plugged straight into female headers on the board.
To top it off, the whole thing is smaller (in every dimension!) than the solderless breadboard I've been using for prototyping, and it even has an enclosed space to hold the lithium polymer battery! Even though it will still be a couple of weeks before I can get my hands on a fabricated version of the PCB design, the sheer awesomeness of the pending simplicity is overwhelming. This board supports all of the critical features currently in the design, and does so in a way that is far less work than anything I've done so far. Perfect.
I'm sure there are some details I've forgotten at the moment, but keep watching your inboxes for more info and the pieces continue falling into place.
Thanks for all you have done for me and the project!
Jeff @ Keyglove