New SFU technology helps long-distance couples ‘hold hands’

Simon Fraser University students create gloves to maintain touch for couples living apart

A new invention out of Simon Fraser University aims to help partners in long-distance relationships keep their grip on love.

Students studying in a lab at SFU’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology have built a pair of interconnected gloves call Flex-N-Feel.

When fingers flex in one glove, the actions are transmitted to a remote partner wearing the other. The glove’s tactile sensors allow the wearer to feel the movements.

The sensors are attached to a micro-controller to capture the flex actions and provide a value for each bend, transmitted to the ‘feel’ glove using WiFi.

The sensors are also placed strategically on the palm side of the fingers in order to better feel the touch. A soft-switch on both gloves also allows either partner to initiate the touch.

“Users can make intimate gestures such as touching the face, holding hands, and giving a hug,” says associate professor Carman Neustaedter. “The act of bending or flexing one’s finger is a gentle and subtle way to mimic touch.”

The gloves are currently a prototype and testing continues. While one set enables one-way remote touch between partners, Neustaedter says a second set could allow both to share touches at the same time.

“Long-distance relationships are more common today, but distance don’t have to mean missing out on having a physical presence and sharing space,” says Neustaedter. “If people can’t physically be together, we’re hoping to create the next best technological solutions.”

Other projects in the works at the lab include a virtual reality video conferencing system that lets one “see through the eyes” of a remote partner, and another invention, called Be With Me, that enables users to video-stream a remote partner’s activities to a long-distance partner at home.

Just Posted

Comedians to share laughs to help Kelowna school

Fundraiser begins effort to replace $20,000 stolen from South Rutland Elementary PAC

Rockets’ Erik Gardiner retires from hockey

Gardiner steps away from hockey for health and personal reasons.

Peachland’s doctors moving out of the district

All the doctors at Beach Avenue Medical Centre are leaving

Kelowna man catches mysterious chicken killer on camera

Rod Tribiger wanted to find out what was killing his chickens

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

Thieves steal thousands from 140 Coast Capital Savings members

Online fraud tactics included phising and ‘brute force’ in November and December

Condo rental bans may be on way out with B.C. empty home tax

Many exemptions to tax, but annual declarations required

B.C. boy, aunt missing for three days

The pair are missing from Kamloops

Daredevil changes game plan to jump broken White Rock pier

Brooke Colby tells council daredevil event would help boost waterfront business

Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Truck hauling compressed gas for ‘virtual pipeline’ crashes on B.C. highway

Driver charged and highway closed for nine hours - containers did not rupture

MP’s Report: Canada’s changing tax rates since 2000

Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola MP Dan Albas looks at how income tax rates have changed

Most Read