My Ambition in Life

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UAHuntsville students hope glove keyboard will revolutionize use of devices with one hand

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Give a hand to some computer engineering students at The University of Alabama in Huntsville for designing a tool that could revolutionize new ways of using electronic devices with just one hand. It’s called a Gauntlet Keyboard, a glove device that functions as a wireless keyboard. Instead of tapping keys on a keyboard, the user simply touches their thumb to points on their fingers assigned a letter or other keyboard function. Conductive thread carries the commands to a matchbox-sized Printed Circuit Board (PCB) affixed to the back of the glove. The PCB transmits it via Bluetooth, whether it’s a computer, a mobile phone, music synthesizer, video game or military device. Think of the Gauntlet as a touch screen that works by tapping your fingers to your thumb on a gloved hand. Four senior engineering students at UAH made the glove their senior design project for a computer engineering class led by Dr. B. Earl Wells. The students — Jiake Liu, Stephen Doud, Douglas Kirby and Chris Heath — are now seeking a patent to market the product.The project recently won a $20,000 prize from the Best Buy Innovator Fund among hundreds of entries. “It’s basically a keyboard on your hand,” explained Liu, the principal innovator and a graduate of Grissom High School. “You, by tapping your thumb on each segment of your fingers, type to the screen basically. And you can do a swiping gesture that would erase it.” Gauntlet is an acronym for Generally Accessible Universal Nomadic Tactile Low-power Electronic Typist. That’s a lengthy description of what essentially is a glove with a beehive of conductive threads running throughout the fingers and palm. Liu said the inspiration came from his interest in science fiction movies and experience with touch-screen technologies. Once he and his project partners came up with the...
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