Monday, January 17, 2011

GO GO Gadget Gloves!

Once winter struck, I experienced the downfall of the iPhone. iPhones, like many other smart phones, have capacitive touchscreens, which require the flow of electrons between your finger and the screen to function. Unfortunately, this requires taking off your gloves to use the phone. The solution is to connect the circuit between your finger and the glove.

There is a commercial option, and I originally thought of this project when looking for Christmas gifts for C. Spending the week in Germany, I realized just how much he uses his phone, and just how cold it was there. My original plan was to buy him some conductive gloves, but once I saw how un-exciting, un-cool, un-fashionable the options were (here are some examples), I realized that this wasn't the gift for C.

A much better gift would be to modify a pair of gloves that Calder already owns and loves! In this post I'm modifying a pair of my mittens (which I love and now will never have to take off). The modification is simple ~ use conductive sewing thread to make a connection between the iPhone screen and your finger. But I can offer a few tips to ensure even better success:
1. Put the glove on and "use" your phone. Mark the points where your thumb touches the screen; this is where you'll want to make your stitches.
2. Make a number of overlapping stitches at marked point.
3. Make sure that your stitches are clearly exposed to both your thumb on the inside of your glove and the screen on the outside ~ you want those electrons flowing!
4. I left a few inches of the tails of the thread inside my glove to provide additional surface area between my thumb and the thread.
5. Put them on and enjoy the magic!

A great review of conductive threads can be found here. This site offers a variety of conductive fabrics and threads in small, quantities. I ended up purchasing a variety pack of threads from this site, but now that I re-visit the site, I'm surprised that I ordered from them because there's so little information on their site. Either I'm looking in the wrong place now or I placed my order on faith and a whole stocking of pre-Christmas goodwill.

A few more things : this is soooo super easy to do with knit gloves, because you can sew in the spaces between the knit stitches rather than having to make holes in your gloves. That said, I want to branch out and modify some of our other gloves, particularly the leather and ski gloves. I'll let you know how it goes!

GO GO Gadget Gloves!

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