SINGAPORE: Keeping your winter gloves on while using a touch-screen device is now possible, thanks to a pair of touch-screen sensitive gloves designed by four enterprising students from the National University of Singapore.
The idea for ISGLOVES took root when two members of the team went abroad for student exchange programmes last year.
"When I was in Sweden, I faced difficulty using my iPhone... and that was why we came up with this," said team leader Charmain Tan.
"I saw one of my colleagues using her nose to touch the screen of her device. When I asked her about it, she told me that she was trying to unlock her phone," said team member Fitzkhoon Liang.
Touch-screens rely on detecting the electrical charge in the fingertips. With this in mind, the team embedded conducting fibres in the glove.
This allows users to access their devices with any part of their hand, be it fingers, palms or even knuckles.
"People are very fascinated that we (students) could come up with such things... When we presented this solution, everybody said, 'Finally, there's a solution to this problem,'" said team member Cia Zhi Yun.
After months of development, the innovation finally made its debut in Sweden last year, just in time for winter.
Retailing at about S$100 a piece, 100 gloves were sold within three weeks.
The team recently won an award for its innovation at DEMO Asia - one of the biggest start-up competitions in the region.
First look at the ISGLOVES designed by the NUS students. Looks rather uncomfortable, furry, with no precision on where you're pressing on your phone.
Of course, my first reaction, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?" , of all the ideas, this was what they came up with? And what's with the s$100 price tag? Look NUS, I COULD DO SO MUCH BETTER, YOU ARE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS FOR GOODNESS SAKE, I AM AN ITE graduate and I can come up with cheaper alternatives, with better ease.
With my prior experience in Mount Kinabalu, where the temperature drops to 8degrees celcius or lower at the Laban Rata resthouse at approximately 3100m elevation, I had to use my phone one way or another.... to tweet about my progress.
Here are some of my alternatives for using Touch-sensitive phones in cold-climates, where wearing a glove to keep warm is necessary.
- Spark-guard(s$2 from Daiso)
- Semi-glovelettes(s$2 from Daiso)
- AXO racing gloves(s$19 from a bike shop)
- Depleted AAA battery(s$0, laying around the house)
Using the Spark-guard, it transmits small electrical charges from your fingers to the screen, works. iPhone users to be wary that "scratch-proof" gorilla glass is no longer manufactured on iPhones.
Semi-glovelettes, needless to prove, it does keep my hands warm enough in cold climates, however I do need to keep my hands in my pocket most of the time.
My AXO racing gloves are a little special, it features these..."silicon-like" embodiments.
It works even without direct contact, I've set my HTC Sensation to display "touched" areas with a grid to prove my point, notice that my fingers are far away too.
I've used these pair of AXO gloves to keep my hands warm while I climbed Mount Kinabalu, and they are very comfortable too, and the "silicon-like" stuff works for Touch-sensitive phones very efficiently as well! I always know where I'm pressing.
If you're feeling cold still, you can choose to wear 2 layers of gloves too.
I've proved my point, and in my humble opinions, I think the ISGLOVE product from these NUS students, are entirely based on plagiarism, as there are quite a number of other products such as the ETIP glove from The North Face already in the market for some time.
So yes, NUS, try harder, I do have a few more ideas on making conductive-gloves, but I'm not revealing it.