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 ")

String Art Courtesy Of Robot Artist
The number of different ways to span a thread between a larger number of hooks is astronomical.

Tetraplegics Dominate Avatar Races
Well, just speaking brain-to-computer...

IBM's Grain Of Sand Computer
'Our ancestors... thought to make the very sand beneath their feet intelligent...' - Stanislaw Lem, 1965.

Can An Entire Brain Be Simulated In A Computer?
'The miles of relays and photocells had given way to the spongy globe of platinum iridium about the size of the human brain.' - Isaac Asimov, 1941.

 

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

Sex In Driverless Cars?
'...admirable for petting.'

Amazing Kepler Space Telescope Decommissioned By NASA
'Thus it came about that the search for a planetiferous sun... was not unduly prolonged...'

ODYSSEUS Solar-Powered Stratospheric Plane Flies Forever
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...'

Augmented and-or Virtual Reality Shoes From Google
'The auto-treadmill's bumps and gullies matched whatever terrain the goggles showed me...'

Soon, Your Tesla Will Follow You Like A Pet
'... follow him as faithfully as a well-trained hound.'

Chinese Watrix Gait Recognition Watching You Always
'... those pesky gait-recognition cameras.'

FlexPai Foldable Phone By Royole
'...A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled.'

Bioreactor Helps Legless Frogs Get Their Jump Back
'An alien drug... Used by an insect race... It can repair bones and organs. It can grow new tissue."

Oh Yes, We're Building The Rotating Tower In Dubai
'Give me an old-fashioned tetragon on a central pivot every time.'

Xinhua AI Anchor Puts CGI Face To Automated News
'...a congeries of software agents.'

Wirewax Watching You Watch, Adjusting Your Experience
'He adjusted the n, the r and b knobs, and hopefully anticipated a turn for the better...'

LawGeex AI Beats 20 Top Lawyers
'The Law Society has strict rules on the use of pseudo-intelligent software - terrified of putting... its members out of work.'

ROAM Robotics Skiing Exoskeleton
'The real genius in the design is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it...'

MIT Headset Lets You Communicate Without Speaking
'The subvocal read nerve signals, letting her enter words by just beginning to will them...'

Exploring Oceans Across The Solar System
'Black liquid flashed past the turbot’s infrared eyes.'

SWEEPER Robot Peter Piper Picking Peppers
'... little machines, that went from plant to plant, apparently on caterpillar tracks, cutting off the ripe fruit.'

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.