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A Smart Glove With Integrated Triboelectric Nanogenerator

by John Doe
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A smart glove with integrated triboelectric nanogenerator

Integrated Triboelectric Nanogenerator

Wearable devices have benefited from flexible electronics with fantastic functions. Among all human-machine interfaces, gesture-sensing has been extensively studied.

Our paper describes a self-powered gesture system that detects hand gestures by analyzing the triboelectric nanogenerator output signal, a smart glove which is attached to the back of the hand.

Additionally, we have developed a set of rules defining how gestures correspond to English letters.

We developed a self-powered real-time hand gesture recognition system that recognizes a variety of hand gestures.


Due to their broad spectrum of biomedical diagnostics, personal healthcare, human-machine interfaces, etc., wearable electronics for sensing human motions and gestures have attracted considerable attention over the past few years.

With vast potential for transforming hand gestures into digital controls, sensors based on gestures, among many other classifications, are growing rapidly.

including electromyography (EMG) and inertial measurement units (IMUs). Using these strategies, however, in the form of wearable devices can be very expensive and may cause the sensor to become overweight.

Integrated Triboelectric Nanogenerator

Wearable gesture sensors currently rely on external power sources, which may be inconvenient, affecting their charging time and battery life.

Many different types of piezoelectric nanogenerators have been studied, including piezoelectric nanogenerators (PENG), which convert vibrational mechanical energy into usable electrical energy.

The limited output performance of these devices remains a challenge.

As a result, nanogenerators (TENG) are more promising candidates for flexible wearable electronics than PENG, for example, because they are lighter, smaller, more manageable, and better to manufacture.’

Based on the charge transfer between the electrode and the epidermis, they have successfully created a flexible/wearable gesture sensor. Even with progress, self-powered gesture sensors need still to be improved.

The large bending angle may also affect the sensors’ durability.

At the backside of the hand, we positioned three sensors on the tendons of the thumb, index finger, and little finger to validate our system. We defined eight gestures by moving and sticking out the three fingers in anyone, one, two, or all (three) directions.

The chitosan-based TENG we have developed has the ability to maintain electric output even when the relative humidity is high, as outlined in our previous study.

As a result, we selected chitosan/glycerol film as a triboelectric layer during fabrication to ensure humidity independence and biocompatibility.

The purpose of this work is to demonstrate a self-powered gesture sensor that can recognize finger movements in real-time, in a wearable form factor.

Integrated Triboelectric Nanogenerator

Material and method

For making the chitosan/glycerol film

Chitosan/glycerol film stability test

Alphabet recognition and gesture measurement

We then stuck two triboelectric layers together with donut-shaped double-sided adhesives of thickness 50*m.

Performance in electrical outputs

TENG works on the principle that the surface of the contact material should be rough to maximize its electrical output.

An increase in the contact area is achieved by adding nanostructures to the chitosan/glycerol film, encouraging a triboelectric effect.

Using SEM, it is clear that Nano-pyramid-like arrays are present on the surface of the chitosan/glycerol. Additionally, we compared TENG voltage output with and without nanostructure.

Compared with the unmodified TENG, the nanostructure-modified one produces a slightly higher voltage output.

Integrated Triboelectric Nanogenerator

Particularly on wearable sensors, humidity lowers the performance.

The design of our solution supports high output properties in various humidity conditions with chitosan-based TENGs.

Previous studies have shown that chitosan/glycerol as-prepared films increase conductivity and relative permittivity with increasing relative humidity, which can counteract the loss of electrical output caused by moisture.

This diagram illustrates how relative humidity has a varying impact on the output voltage of the device.


TENG containing chitosan proved applicable to a wide variety of environmental conditions, according to an experimental result.

The wearable sensor application of the as-developed TENGs requires that the electrode surface be flexible. Testing was conducted on an ITO electrode to determine how resistance affects bending angle performance.

With different resistance values, S3, the bending angle of the electrode remains unaffected, demonstrating its flexible and conductive properties. Furthermore, we tested the TENG’s mechanical stability by performing a durability test.

In theory, there shouldn’t be any significant change in output voltage with frequency change, which proves that the device is robust and mechanically durable.

Integrated Triboelectric Nanogenerator

Establishment of a sign language system

As well, middle and ring fingers move when measuring other fingers.

Our first step was to determine the initial output of a clenched fist so we could elaborate on this difference.

It is impossible for any of the three sensors to detect any signal when the first gesture is maintained. We can then detect the induced signal from various fingers independently

when we stretch out our thumb, index finger, and little finger.

Apart from this, we also measured the output currents of the sensors.

As already mentioned, there were up to 64 combinations of gestures possible with both hands together. Therefore, we were able to create a new sign language system by using 26 gestures as different English alphabets.

Thus, only the extended fingers can generate signals. It is also possible to represent other letters in the same way.


Our paper presents a demonstration of the utility of a self-powered gesture-sensing system mounted behind the hands.

A biomechanical energy harvesting system that doesn’t compromise the comfort of fingers can effectively harvest biomechanical energy from finger motions.

Furthermore, the device has demonstrated excellent stability

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