Touch Typing Taught Haptically DIY-style

Can haptic gloves teach touch typing with less effort? David Schnieder gives it a try. Educate the muscles and nerves of the hands, and let your mind wander.


(Touch Typing Taught Haptically DIY-style video)

So while my wife was sewing eight diminutive vibration motors into the fingers of a pair of cycling gloves, I set about working on the hardware and software for a haptic typing tutor...

The first challenge was how to drive the 14-millimeter-diameter vibration motors I had purchased on eBay (US $13.85 for a set of 10, including shipping). I briefly considered using MOSFET transistors to drive the motors, but I decided to follow Starner’s example instead based on the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” principle: He used Darlington transistor arrays for this purpose. So I used two ULN2003s, one for the four motors on each hand. These chips handle the job without fuss: Each 14-pin IC contains seven Darlington transistor pairs along with diodes to protect against voltage spikes when you switch off inductive loads such as motors. It was a simple matter to wire the inputs to these arrays to an Arduino Nano plugged into a prototyping board and connect the outputs to each glove with short lengths of Cat 5 cable.

I programmed the Arduino to activate a given motor for a quarter of a second corresponding to each character I sent to the microcontroller’s serial port—a “1” would vibrate the motor pressing on the left pinkie, a “2” for the left ring finger, a “3” for the left middle finger, and so forth. That was dead simple. The tougher job was to write a program that would run on a laptop computer so that my kids would associate the stimulation of their fingers with the correct sequence of keystrokes you make when touch-typing a word.

For that, I used Tkinter, which provides an easy way to create a graphical user interface with Python, my favorite computer language at the moment...

It's not quite the same thing, but I think that Robert Heinlein had the basic idea right in his 1942 novella Waldo how Waldo F. Jones taught machinists using waldoes - tele operated gloves:

'Now.. . your name, please?'
'Alexander Jenkins.'
'Very well, friend Alec - the gloves.' Jenkins thrust his arms into the waldoes and waited. Waldo put his arms into the primary pair before him; all three pairs, including the secondary pair mounted before the machine, came to life. Jenkins bit his lip, as if he found unpleasant the sensation of having his fingers manipulated by the gauntlets he wore.
Waldo flexed and extended his fingers gently; the two pairs of waldoes in the screen followed in exact, simultaneous paral-lelism.
'Feel it, my dear Alec,' Waldo advised. 'Gently, gently the sensitive touch. Make your muscles work for you.'
He then started hand movements of definite pattern; the waldoes at the power tool reached up, switched on the power, and began gently, gracefully, to continue the machining of the casting.

Read more about this very cool DIY project on IEEE Spectrum.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/22/2014)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Computer ")

Eterni.me - To Skype With The Dead
'Nothing... left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'- Arthur C. Clarke, 1956.

Razer Project Valerie Laptop Unfurls
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled silently...' - William Gibson, 1986.

Google Home Continues Implementation Of Pohl's Joymaker
'It is a transponder connecting you with the central computing facilities of the city in which you reside on a shared-time, self-programming basis.' - Frederik Pohl, 1966.

New Startup 'Improbable' To Model Our World
'A machine able literally to contain the Universe Itself...' - Stanislaw Lem, 1965.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Keith Laumer's Bolo Autonomous Tanks Right On Schedule
'I cannot lie idle under attack.'

When Computers Develop Their Own Language, Will They Talk To Us?
'The curious absent look of a robot talking on the TBR circuits - the Talk Between Robots radio...'

LipNet Reads Lips - Until Disconnected, That Is
'We'd have to cut his higher brain functions... I'm not sure what [HAL} would think about that.'

Eterni.me - To Skype With The Dead
'Nothing... left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'

Wearable MRI Is Former Occulus/Facebook Exec's New Project
'Your cephalochromoscope... that you always turn on and play when you get home...'

Ford Stratasys Infinte Build 3D Printer
'He proudly indicated his Buick... Almost as good as the original it was printed from...'

The Space Suit As Personal Spaceship
'Darn clever, these suits...'

Dune Fans! Your God Emperor Is Ready
'If one held a sandtrout in the hand, smoothing it over your skin, it formed a living glove.'

Robot Strolls Field, Examines EVERY Plant
'The great machines that did the work ... required but a few dozen men to cultivate an entire county.'

Sweden Outlaws Drones
'An eye that could not only see, but fly, roam, travel at speeds and in directions to suit its operator...'

Wear Your Self-Powered Generator
'It's basically a micro-sandwich...'

TITAN-III Spider Robot Is WAY Too Quick (Video)
'My little friends can find you wherever you go!'

Bill Gates Suggests Tax On Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot that 'appears or pretends to be human' had to be compensated...'

Handle, New Wheeled Hopping Robot
'the hopper sprang thirty feet into the air...'

Matrix Sentinel Ancestor, The Pipe Inspector Robot From Krakow
Watch out, Keanu!

Auto-Focus Smart Glasses Have Liquid Lenses
'Hufhuf oil held in static tension by an enclosing force field within a viewing tube...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.