Wireless Motion Handwrap

In March 2012, RallyPoint was commissioned to prototype experimental handwear with motion sensing capabilities to enable performing artists to have direct control over live visual and sound effects. The result was a flexible, easy-to-wear handwrap that streams full motion and orientation data wirelessly to a computer. The handwrap is powered by 2x AA batteries, and features two waterproof, recessed multifunctional click buttons on the fingers. 

Gesture Recognition Unit (GRU) - Special Operations Exoglove

From November 2008 to March 2010, RallyPoint created a rugged, waterproof Gesture Recognition Unit (GRU) exoglove as subcontractor for Lockheed Martin's Collaborative Squad Tactical Augmented Reality (COSTAR) wearable soldier system under DARPA’s Urban Leader Tactical Response, Awareness & Visualization (ULTRA-Vis) program. Key advantages of the GRU for combat operations include:

Compatible with gloves and bare hand
The GRU is based on a rugged "exoglove" platform that can be worn over existing combat-proven protective Nomex gloves or on a bare hand. It has minimal coverage at the fingers and palm areas, resulting in a much better feel than other forms of over- or under-gloves that create excessive bulk. When the Nomex glove wears out, the user can switch to new gloves without having to replace the GRU exoglove. The abrasion- and flame-resistant fabric of the exoglove provides additional protection to the user.

Functional even when heavily soiled or submerged:
Many digital gloves utilize touch sensors based on capacitance-sensing or electrical contact. These gloves may be considered "water-proof" because they can be washed in water without damaging the components, but they do not function reliably when wet, submerged, or in contact with conductive materials. Furthermore, these sensors rely on clean physical contact, which can be hindered by heavy soiling of the glove. In contrast, the GRU buttons work reliably even when the glove is submerged in water or covered with mud.

Reassuring with tactile feedback
The GRU buttons provide a satisfying click when pressed. Operators prefer this type of localized tactile feedback over auditory or remote vibration cues, which give imprecise feedback because the audio or vibration sources are typically located a distance away from the finger contact points.

Robust against false-activations
The GRU buttons are recessed, thus unaffected when bumped against flat, hard surfaces. The buttons are easy to click with the thumb, but do not falsely activate when the user squeezes his fingers together or operates combat equipment and vehicles.

Fast and Intuitive
The push-to-gesture button enables the GRU user to have considerable control over the gesture input process. As a result, gestures are recognized rapidly with minimal false-alarms. Furthermore, the GRU enables in-air freehand mouse pointing. This mode of pointing––reminiscent of using a laser pointer or Nintendo Wii controller––is quick and intuitive, and opens doors to additional capabilities such as virtual graffiti and handwriting recognition.

Robust against unintended body motions
The typical gesture recognition algorithm looks at unprocessed data from individual accelerometers, which are heavily influenced by translational motions of the user's body. Consequently, these algorithms cannot be reliably used to recognize gestures performed when the user is running (especially during rapid accelerations and decelerations) or riding a vehicle on bumpy terrain. The GRU's gesture recognition algorithm is more robust against body motions because it considers primarily the lateral-motion-independent orientations (Euler angles derived from quaternion representations) of its hand and shoulder modules. These angles are determined by a matrix approach using data from a number of accelerometers and gyroscopes. As a result, we are able to demonstrate reliable recognition of gestures performed while the user bounces up and down or makes sudden lateral movements.


Handwear Computer Input Device (HCID) - Digital Combat Glove

From December 2004 to March 2008, RallyPoint was prime contractor of a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program from the Natick Soldier Center (NSC). The objective was to produce a fully functional Handwear-based Computer Input Device (HCID) that serves as an interface to a Soldier's wearable computer system, giving the Soldier advanced input control at his fingertips. By wearing a sensor-embedded glove that does not constrain physical movement, users could perform frequent input tasks (e.g. controlling a radio or moving a mouse cursor) without having to take his hand off his weapon, as well as issue tactical commands using simple hand-arm gestures. 

In Phase I, RallyPoint evaluated a variety of sensor concepts and explored methods to integrate them into gloves. Crude prototypes were then fabricated to test the sensor concepts. User feedback from Phase I Option showed that the HCID would be highly useful if it allowed soldiers to interface their information and communication systems efficiently with minimal movement. Accordingly, RallyPoint designed and prototyped a glove that enabled basic hands-on-weapon controls. In Phase II, RallyPoint developed essential HCID components––including a sewable push button, a paper-thin Anywhere Fingertip Mouse pointing device, and a glove-borne processor with embedded software––and built HCID prototypes for user evaluation on the field. In Phase III, RallyPoint integrated HCID with an advanced prototype wearable system. 


Demo: Phase I Option

Directional Gesture Communication System (DGCS) - Squad Pointing Glove

DGCS is a system that interprets Soldiers’ hand-and-arm signals and transmits the command data wirelessly to other Soldiers in the same squad. A receiving Soldier hears the issued command based on his own frame of reference. 

In January 2004, for the 1st annual Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies (ISN) Soldier Design Competition (SDC), RallyPoint designed and prototyped a sensor-laden glove that was capable of gesture recognition as a means to enhance intra-squad communication. RallyPoint surveyed the state of the art in human-machine interfaces and combined the most feasible and effective technologies to create the Directional Gesture Communication System, which can recognize Soldier hand-arm signals in combat environments, even when the Soldier is covered in mud. The proof-of- concept device successfully recognized a dozen static finger-hand configurations and dynamic hand-arm gestures, and testing demonstrated that a Soldier could learn to successfully engage the system within 10 minutes time. Demonstrated gesture commands included "freeze", "halt", "security", "get down", "to your [direction]", "enemy to your [direction]", and "rally point".

In March 2004, RallyPoint was invited by PM Soldier Warrior to Fort Belvoir, VA, to present the DGCS concept to PEO Soldier. A handwear-based soldier control unit was proposed, and follow-on discussions helped RallyPoint gain insight about user preferences and current technical challenges for Land Warrior. In June 2004, RallyPoint analyzed digital glove fightability requirements during a field training exercise at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC). RallyPoint spent four days on the field shadowing the OPFOR – 1st Battalion (Airborne) 509th Infantry "Geronimo" – to gain understanding about joint operations and warfighter equipment constraints.