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New smart gloves with gesture interface developed to improve astronautical device management

The NASA Hawthon-Mars project has developed a smart glove for future human research on the Moon, Mars and other solar system bodies. It is a human-machine interface (HuMI) that allows future astronauts to control a range of devices or access a wide range of resources, simply by hand gestures.

At present, space suits are one of the most “cumbersome” obstacles to space exploration, despite the fact that they have improved significantly at the technological level in recent years. They limit the agility and precision with which astronauts can work. The solution could be to equip modern suits with smart gloves, as Pascal Lee, a planetary scientist from the SETI Institute and the Mars Institute, said. Such a glove would make it easier to control robots, devices, computers and everything else to make the same research more efficient and productive.

The glove is currently being tested on Devon Island in the Arctic, one of the most Mars-like places on earth.
The technology behind these new gloves was developed by Ntention, a startup company founded and run by students at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway.

The launch made it possible to create this glove to make it “intuitive and seamless for human-machine interaction,” but when Lee himself saw it at work, he immediately realized that it could be used in a spacesuit to increase the efficiency of astronauts’ movements and operations.

“When I first saw Ntention’s intellectual glove in action, I immediately thought of Arthur Clarke’s third law: any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” explains Lee. “The suit is relatively stiff under pressure, and the movements of the hands and fingers meet with considerable resistance. With the Astronaut Smart Glove, the sensitivity of the hand movements is adjustable and can be set to a high value, which means that the technology can be adapted to a rigid, pressurized spacesuit.”

The glove can work with various types of sensors that can detect even the smallest movements of the hand and even fingertips. These movements are then “transmitted” wirelessly to other mobile devices, which in turn control the drone, robot or end device that a person wants to control.


Kelly Owen

Kelly majored in English Literature and is responsible for assisting in proofreading, editing and research, as well as for web design and the maintenance of this website. Beyond her outstanding writing skills, she has like the rest of us a passion for science and science reporting. She is an avid reader of many scientific journals and magazines, especially Scientific American. In her spare time she also enjoys reading fiction and hopes to complete her own novel in 2020.
Kelly Owen