A group of makers calling themselves the Modern Alchemists meet regularly in Cape Town, and were present at Maker Faire over the weekend in force. One of our favourite toys that they’ve built is this: a glove which turns gestures into commands for remote piloting a drone.

It was built by Tobias Georg Overbeck, who was soldering and tinkering with it for most of Friday before unveiling his creation to the crowd.

The result of his labour was a black glove that wouldn’t look out of place in a Minority Report sequel. You might not know it by looking at it but that module on the glove is actually a controller for a drone.

A drone controlled with a glove, because why not.
A drone controlled with a glove, because why not.

To get the drone off the ground Overbeck closes his hand, the more he closes his hand the more lift he gets. We never saw him wielding a fully closed fist though he was concentrating very hard on keeping his hand open during our chat with him so as not to power up the drone while we were standing close by.

Once airborne manoeuvring the drone is quite simple. Moving forward requires you tilt your hand forward and moving left or right would require you tilting your hand left or right. As simple as that is the work that went into making this glove is way above our pay grade, especially when you consider that Overbeck printed and etched his own PC boards.

The controller glove features a tiny LCD display and switches that make programming the drone on the fly easier. The glove is powered by a battery pack as you would expect from one of those “standard” controllers.

Want to see it in action? ‘Course you do.

makers.htxt.africa attended Maker Faire Cape Town as a guest of CAD House and Sahara Systems, two of South Africa’s leading suppliers of 3D printers and maker gear.