Power Glove could let astronauts control space drones with gestures

The European Space Agency has introduced a new space glove concept that would not only protect astronauts from the vacuum of space, but also enable them to control drones using nothing by hand gestures. The concept Power Glove comes from designer Agatha Medioni and French company Comex, which used materials developed under the ESA-funded Project Pextex.

In early 2019, the ESA inked a contract with French company Comex and two of its partners: OeWF and DITF. Under the Project Pextex agreement, these companies would spend two years finding textiles and other materials that could be used as part of future spacesuits designed for Moon missions. The project seeks, among other things, novel features like self-healing materials.

In an update on its work with Comex, the ESA has published a picture of a new space glove concept made using materials identified under the Pextex Project. The glove would, first and foremost, protect astronauts while in space. The functionality extends beyond that, however, to include gesture-based control of electronic devices that may be deployed on the Moon.

The ESA says this includes drones, as one example, so that an astronaut could scout a location before proceeding forward to it. The gestures could also be used to control machines that explore regions where astronauts cannot safely travel.

The Power Glove concept features a total of three extra functions beyond protecting astronauts, including a built-in laser light for measuring distance, a built-in display for showing things like remaining oxygen levels, and the built-in sensors for gesture-based control. Future concepts may include materials that can harvest energy and self-repair.