we designed live performance tech in under 3 weeks.

At Fiddlie, we love a good challenge, especially when it comes to pushing the boundaries of interactive technology. So, when the Ecole de Design in Nantes approached us with a unique project, we were excited to take it on. They needed a wireless data glove system that could be used by performers in a live interactive performance, featuring multiple sound, video, and light outputs. The catch? We had to deliver it in under three weeks.

The Challenge

The Ecole de Design in Nantes had a vision for an immersive, interactive performance that would involve 15 performers wearing wireless data gloves. These gloves needed to be able to control various aspects of the performance, including sound, video, and lighting, in real-time. They also wanted the gloves to be capable of recognizing gestures and patterns, adding an extra layer of interactivity to the performance.

We knew that this project would require a combination of hardware and software expertise, as well as a tight deadline. But we were up for the challenge and eager to create something truly unique.

The Development Process

Flex Sensors and Custom Textiles

The first step in creating the wireless data gloves was to choose the right sensors. We opted for flex sensors, which allow us to measure the bend of each finger. These sensors are thin and flexible, making them ideal for integrating into a glove design.

Next, we worked with the Ecole de Design to create custom textiles for the gloves. We wanted the gloves to be comfortable for the performers to wear, while also allowing for the necessary sensor placement and wire routing. Our team worked closely with the school's designers to create a glove design that was both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Designing and Printing the PCBs

With the sensors and textiles in place, we moved on to designing the printed circuit boards (PCBs) that would serve as the brain of each glove. These PCBs needed to be small enough to fit comfortably on the back of the hand, while also being powerful enough to handle the data from the flex sensors and communicate wirelessly with the central server.

Our team of electrical engineers designed the PCBs using advanced CAD software, ensuring that they were optimized for both performance and manufacturability. We are lucky enough to have our own PCB manufacturing and assembly machines in-house, so once the designs were finalised, we were able to begin producing them right away without needing to wait for an outsourced service provider.

Designing the Electronic Enclosures

To protect the PCBs and other electronic components, we needed to design custom enclosures for each glove. These enclosures needed to be lightweight, durable, and able to withstand the rigors of a live performance.

Our mechanical engineers worked closely with the Ecole de Design to create enclosures that matched the aesthetic of the gloves while also providing the necessary protection for the electronics. We used 3D printing technology to rapidly prototype and iterate on the designs, ensuring that they were perfect before moving to final production.

Writing the Real-time Server Application

With the hardware in place, we turned our attention to the software side of the project. We needed to create a real-time server application that could handle the data from all 15 gloves simultaneously, and then use that data to drive the video, sound, and light outputs for the performance.

Our software engineers created a custom server application using TouchDesigner, a powerful visual programming language that is well-suited for real-time interactive projects. The application was designed to receive data from the gloves wirelessly, and then use that data to control various aspects of the performance in real-time.

Gesture Recognition and Raw Sensor Values

One of the key features of the wireless data gloves was the ability to recognize gestures and patterns. To achieve this, we licensed BrightSign's proprietary AI gesture recognition IP, which allowed us to train the gloves to recognise specific hand movements and positions.

In addition to gesture recognition, the gloves were also capable of sending raw sensor values to the server application. This allowed for even more granular control over the performance, as the raw sensor data could be mapped to specific parameters in the video, sound, and lighting systems.

Putting it All Together

With all of the components in place, it was time to put the wireless data glove system to the test. We worked closely with the performers and technical team at the Ecole de Design to integrate the gloves into the performance, ensuring that everything was working seamlessly.

The final result was a truly spectacular interactive performance, with the wireless data gloves playing a central role. The performers were able to control the video, sound, and lighting in real-time using a combination of gestures and raw sensor data, creating an immersive and engaging experience for the audience.

A Successful Collaboration

In the end, we were able to deliver the wireless data glove system to the Ecole de Design in Nantes in under three weeks, meeting their tight deadline and exceeding their expectations. The project was a testament to the power of collaboration between our team at Fiddlie and the talented designers and performers at the school.

We are proud of the work we did on this project, and we look forward to taking on even more challenging and innovative projects in the future. At Fiddlie, we believe that the intersection of technology and creativity is where true innovation happens, and we are always eager to push the boundaries of what is possible.

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