A lean kick-start

I work as an Information System Analyst. I’m a geek and really passionate about technology. This blog is about my interest in mobile & pervasive technologies.

To kick-start the blog, in this post I’ll describe a quick experiment I’ve made by using conductive thread.

The conductive thread is just plain fabric, although with the additional characteristic of being a good electrical conductor – while common fabric usually is not.

Conductive thread placed on the index finger of the glove

In this case I’ve applied the conductive thread to the tip of the index finger of the glove, in such a way to enable it for the use with capacitive touchscreens – the common type of touchscreen found nowadays in smartphones and tablet.

Normally this type of glove is not good to be used with capacitive touchscreens; being made of rubber/plastic it does indeed provide good grip, ultimately the primary purpose of such kind of glove, however at the same time being a very poor conductor, it does not enable the tip of the fingers to interact properly with the touchscreen.

Conductive thread loose on the inside of the glove

I’ve bought a sample of conductive thread on eBay for less than 5 Euro and normally enough for this kind of experiment. I’ve applied the conductive thread with a dot pattern approximately 5mm wide, and let the fabric slightly loose on the internal side of the glove.

As a result, the capacitive touchscreen recognise the pattern made with the fabric equivalently to the tip of the human finger, as demonstrated in the video above.

Why do I blog this

Interesting to see how will evolve the paradigm of use of touchscreen, in general, in the industry.
While capacitive touchscreen are, as the time of writing, almost on every smartphones and tablet available, the usual interaction might be spoiled in the industry environment due to usage constrain, e.g.: the use of gloves. Conductive thread applied only on the fingertips convince me more, personally, than a full glove made of this kind of fabric (I’ve seen the latter commercialized now, but unaware if the former is also an available option on the market). Also, it would not solve other basic issues related, e.g.: dirty gloves leaving the touchscreen even more dirtier.
Possibly pens with conductive tips will be ultimately the widely adopted solution; at last the pen would be re-discovered as one of the greatest invention of mankind, after the wheel…

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