Royal College of Art, graduate Morten Grønning explains how he adapted an electric kitchen knife to make a prototype glove for carving hard materials. Grønning's Happaratus glove features a pair of abrasive pads on its fingertips, which move back and forth in a reciprocating motion, enabling the wearer to sculpt materials like wood or stone with their hands.
To demonstrate how the tool could be used, Grønning gave the prototype to a number of wood and stone sculptors to test it out. He claims the feedback was very positive.
"The whole prototyping phase was about finding a way to build a tool so I could give them out and have people test it," he explains. "The main feedback was that, as you are creating a curve, you know the shape through the haptic feedback. So you are understanding the shape as you make it."
Grønning has since built a series of more refined prototypes, which all feature a pair of reciprocating sandpaper pads that are able to sculpt materials like balsa wood, sandstone and plaster. However, he hopes to develop a version of the glove with much tougher interchangeable blades. These would be connected to an electric motor on the back of the glove via flexible shafts along the fingers, granting the wearer full dexterity.
Grønning hopes that with further development, he'll be able to produce a much more tactile replacement for conventional power tools.
"For an artisan it's really desirable to get as close to the material as possible," he says. "With this tool you cannot get any closer."