SBIR Phase I: Force Sensitive Finger Sensor for Computer Interface
This SBIR Phase I research project develops a new method of human computer input -- a sensor-based finger-glove, which will detect magnitude and direction of an applied force as applied by the finger. This ability to detect direction of applied force represents a significant advancement over existing hand-computer interface systems. This research project will integrate an advanced sensor into a small pad sensor which is attached to the glove and which will allow the operator to exert lateral and normal forces by pressing the finger against any surface. This will allow one hand mimicking of a mouse, compared to touch sensitive pads (e.g. the touch pad on a typical laptop) which monitors position and pressure. The Phase I research will use magnetic-based wire sensors which are suitable for embedding in a polymer and this polymer will be designed to produce the desired internal strain on the wire. The outcome of the Phase I project will demonstrate a working system, using hard wiring to the computer. The Phase I will be followed in the Phase II by a full system which will include monitoring finger and hand positions for additional input capability and wireless connection to the computer. The device has a number of applications such as: 1) computer input- as a wearable touch-sensitive finger pad that replaces a mouse in computer input in industrial or military applications; 2) as an electronic glove/hand motion, the device incorporates a large number of sensors which detects motions that are more complex. Applications are similar to the finger pad but include virtual reality simulation along with gaming; and 3) in the robotics application, the sensor would measures forces on the finger, and thus can be used to operate as a tactile sensor for a robotic hand, and 4) the device could also be a prosthetic device, which is similar to robotic inputs, but with more stringent requirements because modes and probability of failure must be considered.
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