Introduction: Southpaw

SOUTHPAW!!?? What is that?

Have you ever been skiing and reached a cliff and wondered how high it was?
Have you ever been moving furniture and needed to figure out how much space you had but didn't want to deal with the annoying tape measurer?
Well worry no more! This is the Southpaw.  A tape measurer and a glove all in one!

Using simple modern technology this wonderful new device may just be exactly what you are looking for.  

The Southpaw is a fairly simple device in theory but much more difficult to actually make work.  It collects data from a sonar range finder, converts that data to a distance, and displays the distance on the built in LCD screen.  Lights on the tip of the fingers indicate that the microprocessor is receiving power and provide a very esthetically pleasing addition to the Southpaw.

Step 1: Cut Open the Glove

This part is somewhat optional, although we found it quite necessary for the aesthetics of the glove.  Make a cut in the top of the glove, going all the way across the palm, and down the wrist, where you can store the lilypad/LCD screen setup.  You may use an exacto-knife or dethreader, although the knife is much easier if you can clean it up nicely afterwards.  Pull out any excess material in the glove (there was a bunch of fuzz in our glove which was part of what made it thick).  This is where the lilypad/LCD screen setup will go.  Cut a square big enough to fit your LCD screen near the wrist of the glove, and check that the screen fits into this.  

Next, sew a zipper (you can find one at any hardware store) into the slit, so that you can access the internal components for troubleshooting/repair.

Step 2: Inventory


Lilypad Arduino + Programmer and USB Cord
Two Coin Battery Holders with Two 3v Lithium Batteries
White on Blue 16x2 LCD Screen ( 5v )
Ultrasonic Rangefinder ( 2.5-5.5v )


Spool of Conductive Thread
Pair of Winter Gloves
Different Types and Colors of Fabric for "Flare"
Various Sizes of Needles for Sewing
Soldering materials
Four AAA batteries
A battery pack for the batteries
Common copper wiring
Hot Glue

Attached are some pictures of some of the hardware and materials needed.
These pictures were taken from the SparkFun
All materials were purchased from as well, aside from the gloves.

Step 3: Set Up the LCD

The output pins on the LCD are not easily accessible to sew to and from.  The first step must be lengthening those pins by soldering thin wires to them.  These wires can be any length desired, however we discovered that 2 - 4 inches is the ideal length.  Color coding these wires makes it much easier to work with when you attach them to the lilypad.  If all the wires are the same color how do you know which wire goes to which pin?  For our setup we used red and black wires for power and ground, respectively, and purple and blue wires for the rest. 

We also found that soldering the screens connections to the Lilypad helps a lot with connections.  The stronger the connections, the better the LCD screen will work.

Step 4: Connections

 Solder these connections between the lilypad, LCD screen, and range finder.  We found that plain wiring has worked best for this as wire has extremely low resistance and extremely high conductivity

LCD  -    Lilypad
Pin     1    -    Ground
Pin     2    -    Power
Pin     4    -    Petal 11
Pin     6    -    Petal 12
Pin     11  -    Petal 5
Pin     12  -    Petal 4
Pin     13  -    Petal 3
Pin     14  -    Petal 2

Range Finder    -     Lilypad
        PW Pin          -     Petal 9
        +5v                -     Power
        GND              -     Ground

Step 5: Implement the Other Components

The next thing that needs to be implemented in is the Range Finder.  We found this to be easiest by cutting a small hole in the palm, and pushing the range finder through it.  We put glue on the front of the range finder and pressed it into the material of the glove, ensuring it stays there without moving.  The wire connections from the range finder can be pulled out the side of the glove, and from there can be connected to the lilypad.

Attach the lilypad to the range finder using soldering materials, as well as the LCD screen connections.  Ensure these connections are in the right spot using the connection numbers from step 3.  If they are incorrect, you could cause catastrophic damage to the arduino.  You could also cause multiple issues in the coding since it thinks certain connections exist while those connections dont actually exist.

Step 6: Set Up the Battery

Now it is time to give the circuit power.  Because the LCD requires 5v you must use four rechargeable AAA batteries to provide enough power to the screen.  A battery pack is easily found at radio shack which holds the batteries in place.  This also provides leads from the battery which can easily be soldered onto the lilypad.  

Solder these leads to the lilypad, and place the entire setup (the lilypad/LCD/range finder setup) inside the glove.  We found that putting the battery pack into the wrist section of the glove kept it out of the way while also keeping it easy to turn the glove on.

Step 7: Write the Code

This code needs to be written in the Arduino Language using your Arduino software on your computer.  
If you want to learn the Arduino code further, here is a link to the Arduino Language Index:

Attached is the code that we used to program the Glove.

Step 8: Uploading the Code to the Arduino

Now that we have a code and a glove, we need to put the two together.  Doing this is very simple, and all the tools you need are provided when you purchased your arduino.

The picture is taken from the internet, but is exactly the same as what you do to upload the code from your computer.

When you purchased the lilypad arduino kit, it came with an uploader, which is a USB cord, attached to an adapter, which plugs into the lilypad.  To upload the code, very simply plug in this adapter between the lilypad and your computer, and click upload in the top left corner of you arduino software.  Once the program indicates that it's complete, you're done :)

Step 9: Final Circuit

 Here is the schematic for the final circuit.  It's a tad messy but the annotations describe the full circuit in detail including pin locations etc.  The drawing was done using a solidworks drawing, and is a complete overview of how the entire circuit works.