Smartphones, iPads, iPhones, mp3 players – few of us can get through the day now without tapping or swooshing on those oh-so-cool touchscreens, marvelling at how a little swipe of the finger can open an app or zoom through a cluster of status updates. For all their cleverness, however, there is one major drawback to these modern wonders – reliant on your skin’s natural conductivity of electricity, they require bare fingers. Not such a big deal if you live in a friendly climate, but for those of us who spend several months of the year bundled up against the elements, using your phone or tablet outside involves an elaborate off-again, on-again, off-again juggling of gloves, generally resulting in freezing fingers and a mouthful of dirty fluff from pulling your handwear off with your teeth.
Now, though, a few companies have recognized this problem and come up with various solutions that let you leave your gloves on to text or scroll, by altering the glove to allow for the needed conductivity. Some versions merely have a small slit in the thumb and index finger that permit you access to your bare skin with minimum exposure to the cold. More sophisticated recent styles either weave conductive thread into the fingertips, or place conductive fabric on top.
Firebox.com offers the Touchscreen Glove and the Isotoner SmarTouch Glove (from £12.99), both of which have conductive thread woven into the thumb and index finger. Fivepoint Gloves (£24.99) from Etre work on a similar theory, but weave the conductive material into all five fingertips on each glove. Dots Gloves ($20.00) have little dot-shaped patches of conductive fabric on the index and thumb, while North Face Etip gloves (£22.00) also opt for patches of fabric. Not to be outdone, Apple have naturally created their own patented iGloves (from £13.99), which would appear to work on similar principles to the others by incorporating special conductive material in the fingertips.
All sounds too good to be true? Some of the drawbacks reported with these gloves include complaints that the conductive thread can sometimes unravel pretty easily; others find that, while allowing you to text and email, they don’t actually keep your hands that warm in more serious weather. Overall, however, they seem to provide a good option to the numb-fingered among us.
If you don’t want to buy a separate pair of gloves you can always take the DIY approach by sewing conductive thread into the fingertips of any pair you already own. GloveTips ($19.99) are a product based on this idea, providing you with a kit which includes three buttons, conductive material, and a special installing needle that lets you turn your favourite pair of gloves into a techie’s winter delight.
As for this techie, my fingers are still cold. The problem? These products have proved so popular, most of the stores are sold out. More stocks are promised by the end of January.
Until next time..
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