A proof of concept keyglove version using the x-OSC, pure data and the app midiStroke

the glove


Proof of concept Keyglove made with x-OSC , Pure Data and midiStroke. This keyglove version was mainly intended for testing the personal feasibility of keygloves as an input device. Text written by N. Kutz 04122016.

The glove itself

The keyglove consists of patches of conductive and non conductive fabrics. The conductive fabric is Statex MedTeX180 and the rest were some leftovers of cotton jersey. The MedTex180 frazzles rather easily, so the patches were sewn with an overlock with a purl stitch. The "pattern" of the glove was done by outlining my hand on a piece of paper, the allowances for the patches and the glove estimated. I.e. the pattern making would certainly need a more conceptual approach, but for a trial out version this version was fitting well enough. I had made beforehand some trials with rubber and some winter gloves but a clear outcome of those experiments was: A good fit is essential for a well working keyglove and custom tailoring rather mandatory.

On the thumb there are sofar 5 "buttons" made from snap fasteners. The "bulge" of the snap fastener was wired from the inside via 0.05mm wirestrands. A blue plastic ring (cut out from some food package) and on top of it a metal ring (from another snap fastner) was glued onto the snap. This "outer ring" was wired as well (wires can be seen in the foto). Unfortunately the snaps are not so easily connecting with non-lead soldering. A bit of sandpapering might be necessary. The fabric patches were connected via TPU yarn, which was directly sewn into the patches. The yarn is inside the gloves. I had unfortunately just a little sample of TPU yarn, but it was enough to connect the patches of the middle finger. The info, which I became was that the temperature allowances of the TPU yarn are not suited for soldering. I however experimented a bit with it and it turned out that the TPU yarn can be soldered onto wire, if done fast and very carefully. So I did this and used a small piece of wire (secured with some heat shrink tube) for plugging the yarn directly into the x-OSC. The conductivity is way less than for the wirestrands, but for this length fully OK. I also washed the yarn once in the washer, which went well. However no guarantee whatsoever, wether the soldering and the washing is always working. Sofar however it looks as if the yarn might be a real alternative to pvc wirestrands.

The setup

Our x-OSC is currently actually intended for another application, but before it is going into that application it came handy to use it quickly and make a proof of concept of a keyglove. The wiring was thought to be simple and easy enough for a first try. The fabric patches as well as the outside ring of the thumb buttons (see paragraph above) are directly connected to inputs of the x-OSC. The inside of the buttons are set to ground. As a consequence this simply means that when a thumb button and a certain fingerpatch touch then exactly two input pins are set to ground. Using the program Pure Data Tim and me set up a quick pure data keyglove patch. The patch converts the on/off structure of the pins into numbers. The program midiStroke (don't forget to set Pd->preferences->midi settings to IAC Treiber Bus 1) was then used to make the concrete assignments of numbers to letters. In the setup in the video the five buttons of the thumb go to the numbers 1-5, whereas the 6 patches of the middle finger go to the numbers 10-60. So that e.g. connecting upper inner button (Nr.1) with upper right patch (Nr. 10) gives 11. I might connect 5 more finger patches, if I have more TPU yarn. That would use up all 16 inputs of the x-OSC. Given the fact that not all buttons connect with all patches one gets in this way about 26 feasible combinations, which is already quite a bit. If one would like to get more combinations one would however need to install some "prelogics" in order to get more of the 2^16 pin configurations of the x-OSC.

This document documents the current status of the project which was to test the concept and feasibility and usability of keygloves as such. The experiment was convincing enough that eventually a later project might be a version which includes bluetooth HID.


This documents what we tried. If you want to build something similar feel free to do so but we can not be made responsible for any damage, failure to deliver the expected performance or whatever.

the glove

the glove