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Essential Reality's P5 Glove posted 3/23 at 1:24:13 PM PST by Gaiiden

The Essential Reality P5 glove

Essential Reality has been working for 3 years to develop their new input device, the P5 glove. The P5 is based basically on the old Nintendo Power Glove, if any of you remember that. I do, but I never had one. Anyways the P5 is not quite a "glove" in the sense that it totally envelops your hand. As you can see in the image above, it's more of a glove exoskeleton, with loops for your fingers and bendable rubber strips to provide tactile feedback as you move your digits.

The Essential Reality booth

I was contacted by ER to do a demo of their P5 glove, and so I showed up on time and got to try it out without having to wait in line - bwahahaha. They had several demos set up and ready to play. I started off with control of a turret tasked with shooting down the ships flying about. Moving my hand around, I was able to aim and rotate the turret any which way. Bending my index finger caused the gun to fire, and bending my middle finger shot off a missile. It wasn't long before I was knocking planes out of the sky. I could hold my hand in almost any position to play - the glove has about 6-8 little sensors spaced around, and as long as the base sensor can see three of them, you're good to go.

Tryin the glove.

Next we switched to another, cooler demo that had me in the same turret situation, this time with more than one weapon along with ground and air targets. The controls were mainly the same, with the addition of bending my thumb to switch weapons. What a blast. I would fire a missile off at a helicopter, then twitch my thumb to switch back to the gatling gun and mow down some infantry, then twitch the thumb again to launch a grenade at a troop carrier. The glove proved to be incredibly responsive so I wasn't like bending my finger more than halfway to enact a response. The glove was supposed to have six degrees of motion, but the yaw wasn't implemented yet.

Note how far up I have to move my hand

The only qualm I had was the fact that you pretty much had to move your whole arm to get a response to movement. This can get tiring. However I do believe the calibration software will let you set the movement sensing higher so that moving just your hand will elicit a greater response. Other than that the glove was comfortable and felt natural. Now those with twitchy trigger fingers can put them to better use. ER is currently researching using two gloves at once, in addition to a left-handed glove, which is good not only for left-handed gamers (obviously) but for those still not willing to let go of their mouse and can use the glove in conjunction with the mouse. I'm definitely excited about this product; it has that "cool" factor combined with actual usability.

If they remain on track, the P5 glove will be available by the end of this summer or sometime in early fall. I'm going to say price not yet set, because I forgot to ask about that, doh. I'll talk to them tomorrow and get back on pricing. You can sign up to get a free P5 SDK when it's released in November by visiting www.essentialreality.com

Thanks to Scott for taking the photos.