So I’ve bought myself a Northpaw kit.
Why? Well, partly because I’m interested in this sort of thing – different modes of perception of and interaction with information – but mostly because it looked cool and I was in a gadget buying mood.
After some grief from the royal mail it finally arrived on friday, and I spent some time today at the london hack space putting it together.
I don’t have anything very exciting to report so far: I basically got it to work, but mangled the assembly. The electronics turned out to be relatively easy – the results aren’t elegant, as I have the manual dexterity of a blind walrus and haven’t soldered in 12 years, but they seem to work. The positioning of the motors however turns out to be rather a challenge.
I found the ribbon extremely hard to configure correctly, and the power connection for it very hard to get right in a way that gave me any capability to position the motors correctly. I’m sure it’s doable, but I couldn’t do it. So the upshot is that I’m going to have to rebuild that part. Fortunately the motors all work and the electronics seems to talk to them correctly. My inclination is to take the ribbon mount off and wire it together with normal wires rather than ribbon.
Another update will be forthcoming when I’ve actually got the thing wearable.