• powerglove

PowerGlove computer game accessory




1989 - 1990


W: 180mm H: 340mm D: 80mm


The primary interface for smart phones and tablet computers is a gesture control surface. This type of interface has many predecessors, both in the real world and in science fiction.

In the late 1980s gesture control was introduced to computer games in the form of PowerGlove, an input device for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was an alternate controller (replacing a joystick or keyboard commands) for use with games.

VPL Research Inc designed and developed the original DataGlove in the mid 1980s as a standard input device for virtual environment systems. VPL’s DataGlove sold for several thousand (US) dollars. Mattel tooled down the glove’s components and retailed its low-tech version for between US$70 and US$100.

The PowerGlove used analogue flex sensors embedded in the plastic on the back of the fingers to measure finger bending. Its potential was recognised by enthusiasts, hackers and virtual environment buffs.

In the 1920s Russian inventor Leon Theremin (1896 – 1993) demonstrated his Etherophone or Thereminovox, a musical instrument developed using radio technology and operated by gesture control. The proximity of the performer’s hands to two antennas affected a circuit altering the pitch and volume of an oscillator. Theremin had observed the oscillations while developing a circuit for another experiment and refined those ideas into a musical instrument with this unique gesture control.

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