Learning hand, VR glove (bits, 2016)

In early March I jumped on board with the Digital Kinematics team as an intern, as they were working on their second prototype of the Learning Hand (the glove for implementing captive feedback in VR gaming).

I had some experience in CAD before had obtained some knowledge of electronics after practically “living” in London Hackspace for the previous 3 months, so it seemed that I could be helpful with hardware and software. I was also in the process of taking and EdX course on Embedded Electronics (UT 6.03x), so I could do some embedded programming.

Charles and Eugene were amazing mentors, they shared some of their vast experience and knowledge with me. Charles showed me how to use the sophisticated Roland CNC machines they had in the workshop, how to turn stuff on a lathe (to refresh my memory) and a few tricks in Solidworks. Eugene, being very knowledgeable in electronics and programming, became my mentor throughout the whole duration of my internship as I was developing a PID controller for their servomotors first on WeMOS (ESP8266) and then on STM32 using a Nucleo developer board.

As a part of my internship I have done the following things:

  • Developed and adjusted a test-rig to test sheathing of different wires (as we had to choose one manufacturer) and how those wires affect the plastic joints (ABS).
  • Set up numerous 3D prints on Ultimaker and Form 2 printers.
  • Developed a PID controller for DK’s own push-pull servomotor using WeMOS ESP8266 dev board and Arduino (for rapid prototyping).
  • Designed and milled a small prototype PCB with hall-effect sensors for the servo.
  • Ported the PID controller to an ARM STM32 chip (programming in C), using Keil IDE and STMCube for quick setup.
  • Designed a fully-functional PCB for the push-pull servomotor.
  • Did a lot of debugging of electronics and software using multimeter and oscillograph.

Along the process we have also experimented a bit with making our own conductive rubber. That lead to no successful results but gave me some insights on how such R&D is done.

Since 2016 the company has moved onto a different design using different technologies for their product and changed their product name to Plexus.