The Nintendo Power Glove may have failed as a game controller, but animator Dillon Markey has given it a new lease on life. With a few modifications and design tweaks, he’s revived the Glove and put it to use as an ingenious stop-motion animation tool.
Now, for those of you who might’ve been too young to experience the Nintendo Power Glove firsthand during its heyday, allow us to explain: Power Glove was essentially a new type of controller designed to be worn on your hand, and when it came out in 1989, pretty much nobody liked it. Nintendo’s adverts made it look totally kick-ass, but shortly after the glove was released, people began to realize that it was horrible for controlling games, so it eventually died off.
But it didn’t die off entirely. Enthusiasts kept Power Glove around, and now tinkerers like Markey are finding innovative new uses for it.
His idea to use it as a stop-motion animation controller was hatched after years of frustration with a tedious and inefficient workflow. During shoots, Markey would constantly have to move back and forth between his computer, the camera, and the puppet stage, so getting a single frame sometimes took up to 10 or 15 minutes. That’s not exactly ideal when your video is comprised of thousands of individual shots.
He needed something better; something wireless that wouldn’t get in the way, and as a guy who grew up in the late 80’s, the Power Glove was an obvious choice. He just needed to reprogram it. With a little bit of help from an electrical engineer, he managed to equip the glove with Bluetooth connectivity and custom controls mapped to his computer.
Markey also added a few clever analog modifications as well. To help with small adjustments on the puppets (eyebrows, mouths, fingers, etc), his glove is outfitted with a set of auto-retracting tweezers that snap back into place when he lets go of them.
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