What Was The First Glove-Based Computer Input Called?
Answer: The Sayre Glove
If you’re a child of the 1980s and you picked The Power Glove as your answer, we can certainly forgive you: the Nintendo marketing department worked overtime with that project and there certainly wasn’t an elementary age video game fan in that decade that didn’t crave their own Power Glove.
The Power Glove might be one of the best known glove-based inputs, but it certainly wasn’t the first. Back in 1977 Tom DeFanti and Daniel Sandin created a computer-based input device using flexible tubes wired over a physical glove. Sensors measured how much light traveled through the tubes and, based on how much the tube was bent, could tell how much the finger had moved. They named the glove ‘The Sayre Glove’ after their colleague Richard Sayre, who had come up with the idea that inspired the actual glove. While wearing the glove, users could mimic real-world motions like moving the sliders on a piece of audio equipment to control programs.
Despite innovations in the field and new products, very few people in the intervening decades have adopted glove-based inputs, and they remain a novelty typically used for computer games and virtual reality simulations.
Image courtesy of Electronic Visualization Laboratory.