‘Stay on my arm, you little charmer’

Diego trying on the glove

I finally managed to be in the same place at the same time as Diego, so we were able to make a work plan, go buy some supplies, and put together our first prototype of what now seems to be The Drawing Glove.

Well, actually, first, we were able to sit there scratching our heads over how to connect a flex sensor. I’ve had one of those things for months and never used it, because I could never figure out how it should be connected. So I looked online and found . . . lots of other glove projects using flex sensors. That’s okay, though—“This one is different—because it’s us.” I also found some inspirational photos of flex sensor connections.

People had warned us that these sensors break easily, and I’d read that they only last for a limited number of bends. I knew there was no way I could solder wires to one these without wrecking the whole damn thing, so I thought that for quick-and-dirty prototyping purposes, maybe I could just hold them together with electrical tape.

Ghetto soldering

Yeah. Meanwhile, Sofia wandered over to ask what we were working on. She, too, was making a glove, and I took the opportunity to ask her how the hell she was attaching her flex sensors to wires. The answer: wire wrap. Okay, that makes sense. She also kindly revealed the location of the specific Radio Shack where she’d managed to find a wire-wrapping tool, but it turned out they had them (albeit somewhat hidden) at the store closest to school. So Diego went out and got us some enamel-coated magnet wire and a wrapping tool.

Man, I am never soldering anything, ever again. Wire wrapping is the way to go.

Wrapped sensor pins

Diego had attached the flex sensor and LED to his original, flat prototype using Velcro, and we decided to stick with this approach (so to speak) for the glove version. So I borrowed a needle from Thomas and spent a ridiculously long time sewing tiny squares of black Velcro onto a black glove using black thread, in the inky darkness that is the central work area at ITP. The following photo is enhanced for your viewing ease; in reality, I could not at all see what the fuck I was doing:

Sewing on velcro

Finally the wires were all wrapped, the Velcro was all attached, the alligator clips were clipped (yes, the wires we laboriously wrapped were too short; and your point is . . . ?), and we had a thing to test.

The glove, unplugged

Hey! It lights up!

Diego testing the glove

It even stays lit when you put it on! And the flex sensor turns the LED on and off!

As the video shows, we soon ran into some technical difficulties. I ended up tailor-tacking the sensor and all the wires down, so that they’d stop pulling out of place. But it kind of works! Amazing!

Onward. Next, we get to try to attach the remaining four sensors and LEDs. And we’ll probably want to eliminate some of those noisy wires, since flex sensors really don’t like them.

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