As a musician, sometimes you want to walk away from the computer and the use of buttons and knobs. Some dream of an instrument or interface that is more experimental and lively. There are many possibilities, the sky is the limit when it comes to designing gestural and alternative controllers. Gloves have become a popular option, and for good reason, they are expressive and the hand has many points of articulation. Plus, when you are really feeling a groove, it's hard not to move around, shimmy and shake. The body is very expressive and, using a microcontroller and some sensors, it can be turned into a musical instrument to learn and explore.

The challenges I presented myself was to not use flex sensors and to create pressure sensitive points on the back of the hand using resistive paint and conductive fabric. This lead to a knuckle mechanism designed by JON-A-TRON and Aleator777 using trimmer potentiometers, and a homemade sensor using polyurethane, Bare Conductive paint and conductive fabric. You can use flex sensors if you like (coupled with a voltage divider circuit), they both give out voltage resistance readings.

This wireless glove triggers and manipulates sound using the Intel Edison's WiFi capabilities and the JavaScript libraries, Cylon.js (for interfacing with hardware) and Timbre.js. (sound generation). I made mine out of leather, but this can be made out of other materials, such as neoprene or boiled wool. Choose something that can be cut, but doesn't fray. The Edison Arduino breakout board is used, which is large, but has ADC, which is needed for analog sensor input. Until Intel comes out with something smaller, you may want to try Sparkfun's breakouts or another microcontroller that is smaller and can support WiFi.

It would be remiss of me not to mention at least a few great glove controllers and wearable instruments:

Nintendo's Power Glove

mi.mu glove (will be open source!)

Onyx Ashanti (check out his website for more wearable experiments!)


Step 1: Materials


[1] Small hide of 3 ounce leather

- glove leather and hide from the neck of a cow are both suitable.

- if you to use 1 color, this will cover you. Get 2 small hides if you would like a contrast color.

[3] 9" x 12" sheets of felt or 1/4" of felt

Matching thread

Small piece of tulle

Seam ripper

Tandy's EcoWeld

Leather rotary hole punch

[1] foot of ShieldIt Super

[1] Bare Conductive pen or pot of conductive paint

[1] 3 lb (trial unit) Clear Flex, water clear urethane rubber, shore 50A (optional)

- I used it because I wanted the sensor parts to show, leather can be used instead.

[1] Clean-up rag

[1] Pair of glove to protect hands while using polyurethan

[2] Paper cups and wooden mixers

Mold release

[10] Small 1/4" post rivets

[2] 10 K trimmer potentiometers

[1] Intel Edison or other WiFi enabled microcontroller

[2] Micro usb cords

[15] pairs of female and male headers

[1] plastic ziplock bag

Ribbon cable

Heat shrink tubing

Ball-point pen

5-Minute Epoxy

Artist or masking tape


Rotary blade

Cutting mat

X-acto cutter

Silhouette CNC cutter (or patience with the X-acto)

3D printer

- to print molds for polyurethane and knuckle actuators (for the knuckles you want the highest resolution printer you can find)

Laser cutter

- for knuckle actuators

Wooden mallet

Soldering iron

<p>hi, could someone please tell me how to run the code because when I try to I just get an error</p><p>Thanks</p>
<p>Hey it is a great tutorial !!!! This perfect glove can be reference design to also control other projects</p><p>I cant wait to get mine done thanks a lot :) I started sourcing the materials. Only few problems occurred while I was reading the instructable through</p><p>Lever design for knuckle mechanism is missing, I was seeing my chances to manufacture it from a laser cutter or perhaps trying out the 3d printer way but I couldnt find the file for it.</p><p>Also sensor mold stl's are missing and it would be great if you can also share us :)</p><p>I really checked it our carefully if it is me who had trouble finding them excuse me for that. Thanks a lot again.</p>
Hey there! Glad you enjoy it. :D<br />Overall, gloves do make good controllers, what will you be using yours for? <br />Those files will be uploaded by tomorrow morning, I don't have access to them now, but will later tonight! <br />
<p>Thanks for the fast reply :) Dont need to hurry :)</p><p>I really loved the design and I think it can be modified to give haptic feedback vibration in the hand and sense of touch on fingers by stopping the knuckle with selenoid like actuators. I have some knowledge of three.js library I will try to interface the glove with it to detect collision detection to give haptic feedback and create an interactive 3d controller.</p><p>But is what I will go for later on :) For now I will just enjoy the simultaneous music :D and I will try to interface it with Ableton live to see if it can be used Djing ! :D I am pretty sure it can be :)</p><p>I will share my results and outcomes here :) Thanks a lot again :)</p>
<p>Uploaded.</p><p>If you want to interface this with Ableton live, you may want to use an Arduino. I recommend using an Arduino Mini. I usually make musical interfaces using an Arduino uploaded with standard firmata and Maxuino being piped into Max for Live. The Edison has interesting constraints, which is why I went for a javascript music framework for this project. I hope to make another musical interface instructable that uses the arduino setup sometime soon. </p><p><a href="http://www.maxuino.org/">http://www.maxuino.org/ </a> </p><p><a href="https://www.ableton.com/en/live/max-for-live/">https://www.ableton.com/en/live/max-for-live/</a></p>
<p>I would love this as a bass synth, but I dont have the facilities to make this. To have sliders. one for reverb the other chorus. Now im old its hard to carry my bass, but a lap top is so easy! Bravo</p>
That's cool.

About This Instructable




Bio: Specializing in sewing, soldering and snacking. More stuff I do... I teach an interactive fashion and textile class called Wearable and Soft Interactions at California ... More »
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