PROBLEM: Keeping Hands Warm While Staying in Touch
Thanks to technology, the world is now literally at our fingertips. With a simple swipe, touch, or tap of a finger on a smartphone screen we can text, email, surf the web, and amuse ourselves with games and videos from any location. Increasingly, touchscreen technology is becoming the standard in cars as well, replacing dashboard dials and knobs, connecting us to navigation services, and syncing with our phones while on the go. All of these screens rely on sensors that react to our skin’s ability to conduct electric signals, which is why they don’t work if you’re wearing gloves. Luckily, there are simple solutions that help you stay in touch in colder weather while keeping your fingers toasty warm.
SOLUTION: Touchscreen gloves
Smartphone-compatible gloves in a variety of styles, materials, and levels of warmth are widely available. Strategically placed conductive fibers woven into the material or conductive patches sewn onto the fingertips let you use technology without having to take off your gloves. Most brands are conductive at the tips of the index finger and thumb, but some offer whole-hand conductivity as well as rubberized grips on the fingers and palms.
Where to get them: At big-box, department, and outdoor clothing stores, as well as online retailers.
Price: Varies by brand, material, and levels of warmth and conductivity. Lightweight woven gloves typically start at $9.99, while leather gloves start at $29.99. Expect to pay more for extra warmth, special materials, and extra features.
SOLUTION: Conductive thread
If you don’t want to part with your favorite pair of gloves, or need to use specialty gloves for work or recreation, you can give them a DIY tech boost by sewing on knobs or patches of conductive thread. Figure out which parts of your fingers you use to make contact with your device and get sewing. Just make sure you leave tails of thread on the inside of the glove so your fingers make contact with the conductive material. Reputable brands of conductive thread include Adafruit and SparkFun, and online tutorials on YouTube and other sites will walk you through the process.
Where to get it: At specialty craft and sewing supply stores. If you’re having trouble tracking it down, find it online at Amazon.com.
Price: About $8 for 76 feet of 2-ply Adafruit stainless thin conductive thread and $9 for 35 feet of Adafruit stainless thin conductive yarn on Amazon.com.
By Yelena Sapin