Gadgets news: Power glove and a tactile tablet for the blind

6 Jul 2015

This week in gadget news, a stone carver creates a power glove to carve for him, a tactile tablet for the blind was developed and a nifty LED learner keyboard.

Happaratus power glove

If design student Morten Grønning Nielsen has anything to say, then it looks like it’ll be the end of the ancient tradition of using a hammer and chisel for carving stone with his new invention, the Happaratus power glove.

The Royal College of Art graduate created the glove with the intentions of making more intricate carvings both in stone and wood, as well as making it more natural in terms of being able to sculpt in a similar fashion as someone would with clay.

According to Deezen, the tips of the glove’s thumb, index finger and middle finger house the abrasive pads, all of which is powered by a hydraulic motor, with the double pads going in opposite directions to carve the material.

Nielsen said of his cool power glove: “By user testing the conceptual machines, it was confirmed that human proprioception and haptic feedback enables a user to sculpt extremely accurately and create highly complex geometries in a seamless workflow.”

Tactile tablet for the blind

Since their entry into the market, tablets and touchscreen devices have been unavailable to those who are blind due to the fact that braille doesn’t exist in the medium of a flat, glass screen.

Now, however, a company has developed a new haptic, liquid-based tablet that generates braille text with the creation of liquid bubbles generated by the tablet.

Built by Austrian start-up Blitab, the tablet also allows for text files to be uploaded to it through a flash drive or NFC and will translate that text into braille.

The company says its tablet offers much more than current similar concepts, which can only handle one line of braille and don’t cost thousands of euro.

With plans to launch the tablet commercially in 2016, it has already garnered interest from support groups for blind people, including the UK’s Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB).

Star Wars stormtrooper Bluetooth headset

Another week, another Star Wars gadget. This time, it’s a pretty nifty-looking Bluetooth speaker designed to look like the head of a stormtrooper.

Like a trophy held by a rebel fighter, the head can sit on a desk given its small size and features a pretty impressive 5W speaker system.

In terms of how long the force can stay within the speaker, well it has a 400mAh battery that’s chargeable by USB.

It’s not going to be out until October though but can be pre-ordered from The Fowndry for US$63 (€57).

Stormtrooper Bluetooth speaker

 The One keyboard

Learning the piano can often be a rather lengthy process, with years spent attempting to learn classical pieces or even just your scales.

But now a recently-backed Indiegogo campaign wants to make learning the piano much more user-friendly with The One keyboard, which lights up the keys you’re meant to press with the sheet music shown on an accompanying tablet.

The keyboard is particularly aimed at the reality that most people who want to learn to play the keyboard just want to play some of their favourite pop songs, which The One allows you to download through the accompanying app.

It even allows you to play mini-games that create a Guitar Hero-like game where you have to hit the keys at the right time to create a tune.

It’s pretty affordable too coming in at around US$200 on its Indiegogo page.

Play Xbox One with an N64 controller

Totally pointless, but a nice retro throwback for any Xbox One players.

To coincide with the upcoming launch of the Rare Replay Collection, Chris Gallizzi decided that he would tinker around with the controller of the N64 with its legendary trigger button right in the centre-back of the unit, and adapt it to work with the latest Microsoft console.

It appears to work, albeit it a bit noisily, and at least he promises “no official N64 controllers were harmed in the making of this project”.

Phew, well that’s a relief.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic