A wearable device for ubiquitous computing interaction with physical objects.

Note: this page is currently being updated.

The Gauntlet is a concept for a user interface that allows for manipulation of real, physical objects as gameplay elements in pervasive/ubiquitous gaming scenarios. It can also be used in other less game-oriented applications. It takes the shape of a long bracer, so that it may be unintrusively and unobtrusively worn by the player. It is able to detect RFID-tagged objects held/touched by the wearer; provides data on the motion of the forearm and pressure in the palm of the hand to roughly determine gestures the wearer might be performing; and also, if the  wearer is pointing, the absolute direction and angle of his arm.

Gauntlet Technical Sketch

So far, two prototypes have benn produced. The first Gauntlet was used in the original version of Noon – A Secret Told by Objects together with a PDA. The second (smaller, lighter and ambidexterous) version was used in Wolves & Sheep together with a mobile phone and in the revamped version of Noon. The above sketch closely maps the placement of the components on the first Gauntlet. Below is an image of the first and second prototypes.

The first (top) and second (bottom) Gauntlets

The first (top) and second (bottom) prototypes of the Gauntlet.

Usage in Projects

A few possible usages of the  Gauntlet have been demonstrated/tested in my projects. Unfortunately there aren’t more of them because there is only one of me.

Noon – A Secret Told by Objects

In both versions of the installation, the Gauntlet is used to detect the object the user is holding, triggering the corresponding memory. After the user touches the clock, the direction the wearer is pointing to is used to change the time of the memories. While holding an object, one of three gestures can be recognized: shake, pour and strike. Gestures will in some cases trigger additional memories. A few of these will trigger the poltergeist sequence, during wich the pointing direction and pressure to the palm of the hand are used. The first version of the installation was used to perform user tests.

Wolves & Sheep

To play as a wolf hunter (referred to as  Trapper) a player dons the Gauntlet. Pointing is used to determine the direction of wolf packs (using the rumble as an indicator). Repeatedly making a circle to the ground will set a trap. A sufficiently low amount of movement from the Gauntlet will make the Trapper invisible to other players (moving in stealth mode). Finally, while holding a prop hunter’s knife the player can strike at nearby wolf packs.

A Red Fable

This is an upcoming project. It will likely make use of all the modes mentioned above (with exception maybe of the “circle” gesture). More details will be here soon.

Selected Publications

Martins, T., Sommerer, C., Mignonneau, L., Correia, N. Towards an Interface for Untethered Ubiquitous Gaming. In Proceedings of the ACM SIGCHI International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology (ACE ’08). Yokohama, Japan, December 2008. [link]

Martins, T., Sommerer, C., Mignonneau, L., Correia, N. Gauntlet: A Wearable Interface for Ubiquitous Gaming. In Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (Mobile HCI ‘08). Amsterdam, the Netherlands, September 2008. [link]

Future Work

There is much that can be done as future improvement and development work. A few possibilities are detailed below.

  • Having an application that uses drawing of symbols (such as magical runes) in mid-air. This has been superficially tested, relying on a combination of data from the compass and accelerometer.
  • Demonstrating mobile usage of the Gauntlet in non-gaming applications
  • Having the Gauntlet output absolute values from it’s sensors (especially pressure and direction)
  • Somehow determine if the Gauntlet is closed or not (such as per a switch made from a snap button)
  • Determining if the detection of active tags is possible at a few meters distance. This could allow for an unintrusive positioning method (otherwise the wearer must explicitly locate the tag and touch it).
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