Vibrating Gloves Tell Customers Where To Find Things In Store

Vibrating Gloves Tell Customers Where To Find Things In Store

The concept design by researchers at the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology helps point you in the right direction when you’re looking for specific items.

Emma Hutchings
  • 12 october 2012

Researchers at the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology and the Max Planck Institute for Informatics have developed a glove prototype that uses vibration feedback to guide the user towards a predetermined target. The user’s hand is steered towards the object, helping to point them in the right direction when they’re having trouble finding something. The glove could help users search for items in supermarkets, parking lots, warehouses, libraries, etc.

Vibrating Gloves Tell Customers Where To Find Things In Store

The glove was built using inexpensive off-the-shelf components such as vibrotactile actuators on a simple glove, and a Microsoft Kinect sensor tracks the user’s hand. A dynamic guidance algorithm was created, which calculates effective actuation patterns based on distance and direction to the target. Dr. Antti Oulasvirta from the Max Planck Institute for Informatics said:

In search tasks where there were hundreds of candidates but only one correct target, users wearing the glove were consistently faster, with up to three times faster performance than without the glove.


Photo by David Alliet


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