Some U.S. soldiers in Iraq are already equipped with wearable computer systems. But the lack of efficient input devices restricts their use to safer environments, such as the interior of a Humvee or a base station, where the soldier can set down his weapon and use the keyboard or mouse tethered to his body. Now RallyPoint, a startup company based in Cambridge, MA, has developed a sensor-embedded glove that allows the soldier to easily view and navigate digital maps, activate radio communications, and send commands without having to take his hand off his weapon.

“We wanted to make a device that would have all the necessary components in a combat-ready way,” he says. The Natick Soldier Systems Center in Natick, MA, has a contract with RallyPoint and is currently testing a prototype of the glove, called a Handwear Computer Input Device (HCID), for use with its electronic systems.

The HCID is a sensor-embedded glove that is capable of recognizing 1) intuitive single-handed gesture commands and 2) direct “hands-on-weapon” input actions, and relaying them to an interfaced electronic device such as a wearable computer, two-way radio, or robot control unit.

Gesture commands are recognized by a suite of sensors that sense hand posture and orientation, and hands-on-weapon input actions are detected by thin, flexible force sensors strategically placed throughout the glove.

These sensors and their supporting conduction network are fully integrated into the glove’s fabric to maintain the look-and-feel of a conventional Soldier glove.

HCID enhances the functionality and usability of wearable Soldier systems. An operator can:
* Select the view mode of your helmet-mounted display without having to take your hand off your weapon or vehicle handgrip �
* Operate a small unmanned ground vehicle from a combat-ready posture �
* Enjoy hands-on-weapon input capabilities without being tethered to your weapon �
* Input commands into your computer using intuitive hand-arm gestures

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