You probably already know what the Nintendo power glove is. It was a critical commercial failure that died with the 80’s. Even with its dubious reputation, I have often wondered if the power glove was really as bad as people made it out to be. Was it the glove’s fault or just how it was implemented in gaming? Could the power glove’s reputation been saved with better tech? Is it possible to science the crapola out of it and bring an idea that was seemingly ahead of it’s time to true glory?
I intend to find out.
But It just arrived, so today I’m just going to share my first impressions with you.
I aquired my power glove on Ebay for under 40$. The going rate is usually closer to 65$, even more if it’s still in the box or at least includes the sensor bar. However, the family dog looks like he decided to nibble a bit on the cable.
Bad day for Fido, but it works out for me. I don’t have a nintendo, and now I don’t feel so bad about hacking into it.
Other than a few scuff marks the power glove is in near mint condition. I originally wanted a power glove for the flex sensors in the fingers, so I’m happy that they’re probably not damaged.
Here you can see two microphones located on the back of the hand. The sensor bar would have emitted an ultrasonic pulse that these microphones could pick up on. The powerglove could determine where it was in 3D space by the time it took for each pulse to reach the microphones. But I have other ideas that involve an IMU.
Moving onto the ergonomics, the glove is held on by a Velcro strap around the arm and a tabat the base of the palm.
Holes in the tips of the finger and the stretchy outer fabric makes the glove conform to nearly any hand size. While the black outer fabric is breathable, the fabric that rests on top of the hand is backed by the power glove’s plastic shell. If you wear it for even a modest amount of time your hand will start sweating.
The plastic cover doesn’t just make the glove hot, but it also sacrifices some of your flexibility. When I make a fist like in the picture above my knuckles actually “bottom out” on the plastic cover, preventing me from making a tight fist. It is still possible to flex my fingers individually and grab objects but it does make more demanding activities like typing or using an arcade stick harder.
But I can forgive all of that because of how awesome it makes all my hand gesture’s look.
Seriously, I love the way this thing looks.
Power glove can be metal too!
I eventually got tired of posing with the glove and decided to take a peek inside it. Modding it was my original plan after all. There are a suprising number of screws holding this thing together. Here I just took off the eight screws holding the covers on, but it gets so much more intricate.
Here’s a look inside the hand cover. The mass of wires to the lower left are all for the flex sensors. I’ll be testing those later to confirm all my flex sensors are working. The rest of the wiring is totaly alien to me, including that metal disk on the cover. I have to assume it’s for the microphones. I also know there’s a rotation sensor on here somewhere, but I won’t be using it. From what I read it was pretty bad…
The underside. Now you can see the wires going into the hand so that they can read the flex sensors.
This is the button cluster on the arm. Look at the size of that processor! It’s as thick as two quarters. I’m not suprised though. There won’t be another controller with this many buttons, let alone VR capable, for a very long time.
The reverse side that actually faces the button cluster. not unlike modern controllers, only there are waaaay more of them.
And lastly, the back side of the buttons. Nothing special to note.
That’s it for now.Since the shipping time on a lot of this stuff is really slow, I probably won’t mod it too soon. However, I’ll be testing the flex sensors while I’m waiting for everything else to get here.