UA Huntsville Students Design Keyboard Glove

Posted on: 10:06 am, October 25, 2012, by , updated on: 08:03pm, October 25, 2012

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Huntsville is a science and engineering hub but it’s not just professionals putting together cool new inventions. Computer engineering students at the University of Alabama in Huntsville have designed a cool new tool that could change how we interact with computers – and a lot more.

Imagine never having to type on a keyboard again? It might be possible with the Gauntlet Keyboard – a glove that uses Bluetooth technology to interact with a computer remotely.

The glove, still just a prototype at this stage, has special targets running along each finger and palm - when a user taps each location with a thumb, they can bring up different letters and numbers. Picture something like a phone keypad transposed onto one hand.

“I can just tap on my fingers with my thumb,” co-creator Jiake Liu demonstrated for WHNT News 19 Tuesday, “[As I tap] I can type to the screen.”

To erase, Liu explained, a user only needs to make a Karate-chop motion.

The group of UA Huntsville students who designed the glove, did so for a school project. It wasn’t easy. When the finished prototype actually worked, the team was amazed.

“It was quite a challenge, we had a few issues we had to work out,” co-creator and hardware engineer Douglas Kirby admitted, “Until you get the final product in and get to test it… you have no idea if it`s gonna work or not.”

So can the Gauntlet Keyboard sell in the real world? Its makers see uses in law enforcement, medical applications and even the military – as a silent method of communication. They’re also hoping to use the glove as a jumping-off platform for future inventions.

Already, the project has picked up some national attention. It recently won a $20,000 prize from Best Buy’s Innovator Fund.

Make sure to watch WHNT News 19 at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, October 25th to see the Gauntlet Keyboard in action!