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Circuit Breaker

Hacked Nintendo Power Glove lets you control drones like a wizard

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More than 25 years after Lucas Barton fell in love with the Power Glove in The Wizard, Nintendo's impractical but undeniably cool hand-mounted NES controller has a new purpose — controlling drones. Engineer Nolan Moore used the peripheral as the basis for a gesture-based controller for the Parrot AR Drone quadcopter, allowing him to guide the hovering device around with small motions of his hands.

Moore's controllers were built using real Nintendo Power Gloves, but he didn't leave much of the decades-old devices' innards intact, stripping them out and replacing them with much more modern control boards, Wi-Fi transmitters, and flex sensors in the fingers. An early version used a well-loved American Power Glove, manufactured by Mattel, but a second version with updated components was built around a boxed version Nintendo's own Japanese version of the controller that Moore won on eBay.

You can follow Moore's methods on his project blog, as he explains why he switched from electronic design software Eagle to KiCad, details the parts he used, and shows off the still-stylish Power Glove in all its glory. Moore showed off the finished product at the Bay Area Maker Faire last month, using his hand like a pretend airplane to guide his AR Drone through the sky, steering it as if by magic as people looked on in awe. Who's the real wizard now, Fred Savage?