Conductive thread, touchscreens, and motorcycle gloves - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 8 Old Dec 11th, 2010, 7:41 pm Thread Starter
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Conductive thread, touchscreens, and motorcycle gloves

JimE was kind enough to send me a few yards of conductive thread, and I set about sewing it into the tip of the index finger on both of my gloves. It works great for being able to use the touchscreen while riding. I specifically am using an iPhone, but this will work with any of the glass touchscreen devices like Androids, iPod Touch, etc.
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post #2 of 8 Old Dec 11th, 2010, 9:55 pm
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Re: Conductive thread, touchscreens, and motorcycle gloves

Interesting solution.

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post #3 of 8 Old Dec 12th, 2010, 8:10 am
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Re: Conductive thread, touchscreens, and motorcycle gloves

Just make sure you don't puncture the membrane on waterproof gloves (Gore Tex, etc.).
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post #4 of 8 Old Dec 12th, 2010, 9:15 am Thread Starter
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Re: Conductive thread, touchscreens, and motorcycle gloves

I don't own any yet, but plan to pick some up. Since the iPhone isn't waterproof, I figure I'd never be wearing them and using the phone at the same time.

I did a little riding and testing last night, and they work 95% of the time. I may add a little more thread not that I see which part of my finger I most naturally use.
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post #5 of 8 Old Dec 12th, 2010, 11:19 am
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Re: Conductive thread, touchscreens, and motorcycle gloves

Quote:
I did a little riding and testing last night, and they work 95% of the time. I may add a little more thread not that I see which part of my finger I most naturally use.
Glad it's working for you. 95% is better than I usually get while on the bike even if I remove my glove, what with the normal jostling while on the go.

Maybe after you get your solution tweaked you could post a photo of your final "contact patch". I'd be interested to see what you come up with as the optimum size of the patch.
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post #6 of 8 Old Dec 12th, 2010, 2:29 pm
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Re: Conductive thread, touchscreens, and motorcycle gloves

I don't have a clue as to why conductive thread on the tip of a glove would make any touchscreen work better... It's pressure sensitive.. NOT conductive...

Better to fashion a rubber tit on the tip of your finger...Dip it in some liquid rubber. Let it form a sharp point...The reason your glove doesn't work well is because it spreads out the contact patch too much... Perhaps your thread is giving you a smaller contact patch....And in that case I guess it might seem to be an improvement over the glove itself...
Maybe glue a BB onto the tip of your glove...That'd be great till you stubbed your finger on something.

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Last edited by JPSpen; Dec 12th, 2010 at 2:36 pm.
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post #7 of 8 Old Dec 12th, 2010, 2:46 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Conductive thread, touchscreens, and motorcycle gloves

The older phones used a PRESSURE screen with a resistive membrane in between thin plastic and a sheet of glass. The term "touch" screen really should not have been used with those, but it unfortunately was. The new technology is capacitive touch. No membrane, just a glass screen that detects capacitance. Your body is a great capacitor. Zero pressure is needed.

The thread has to contact the finger, BTW, so it must enter the glove. I've chosen to make a large-ish contact patch with a very random pattern, so that it's much like your finger touching the glass. Yesterday I was able to reliably type out a text message with it (while stopped of course).

The pressure screen on my gps works fine with gloves without the thread.
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post #8 of 8 Old Dec 18th, 2010, 1:58 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Conductive thread, touchscreens, and motorcycle gloves



The random pattern seems to work well. Since the thread must touch the finger, I made sure to make it go over seams internally so there would be pressure against the finger. IE, enter the glove on one side of a seam, and exit on the other, loop around, repeat. After tweaking my first glove, and on the other two, I'm seeing nearly perfect performance.

Next up I'm going to build a handlebar-mounted switch to do answer/hang up and music control. It's very easy from an electrical perspective, I just have to figure out a good switch mounting solution and find a waterproof switch. I've considered hijacking the horn switch--who uses the horn anyway?
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