In a study published in Polymers, researchers proposed a tractable low-cost, structurally robust data glove with a self-calibration function and simple sensing mechanism based on a space-division multiplexed optical fiber sensor. Due to its high sensitivity and customizability, the data glove will have potential applications in telemedicine, sign language recognition, and human-robot interaction.
Study: Low-Cost Self-Calibration Data Glove Based on Space-Division Multiplexed Flexible Optical Fiber Sensor. Image Credit: Tutatamafilm/Shutterstock.com
What are Data Gloves?
A data glove is a wearable, interactive device resembling a hand glove that enables fine-motion and tactile sensing control in robotics. Flexible electronics-based wearable technology has grown and developed dramatically over the past 20 years, and the data glove is among them.
Data gloves popularized in virtual reality (VR) applications have become increasingly popular. The data glove’s natural interface with humans improves system operations of robotic applications and is useful in many other areas.
Data gloves are increasingly employed in robot control and remote operation, entertainment and sports in virtual reality systems, surgical training for medical applications, and sign language detection.
Limitations of Current Data Gloves Technology
Wearable technologies such as data gloves must still overcome several obstacles before they can be widely promoted and incorporated into everyday life. For instance, the lack of tractable sensors with superior sensing performance, the need for heavy and costly external equipment, and the absence of real-time output can result in poor signal quality and an unfriendly user experience, limiting future applications.
Selecting the proper soft base material to fulfill the functionalities of stretchability, flexibility, and torsion ability is challenging for flexible sensor design.
Fiber-based materials have recently been favored for fabricating flexible sensors in wearable gadgets. Instead of block or film compounds, fiber-based materials can be developed in various forms and mounted on wearable textiles, providing superior flexibility and comfort.
However, producing fiber is frequently expensive, time-consuming, and environmentally harmful. Therefore, producing tractable low-cost sensors with rapid response, super-stability, and high sensitivity is critical for developing intelligent, user-friendly wearable devices.
Using Optical Fiber and Space-Division Multiplexed Sensor to Increase the Flexibility and Sensitivity of the Data Glove
Researchers adopted a stable, simple, controllable, and economical method to design flexible optical fibers with stretchable and adjustable properties.
Five flexible fibers were integrated with the camera and fixed to the glove using a quick and effective space-division multiplexed fiber-sensing technique. This reduced the amount of space and weight taken up by a signal demodulation portion and removed crosstalk signals between optical fiber sensors.
The flexible fiber sensor measures the total optical loss of the finger during transmission to quantify the optical fiber deformation. Therefore, it is essential …….