Most of us fantasize about being the badass kid with the Power Glove from The Wizard. Dillon Markey went and made that dream his day job.
Markey is an animator for Adult Swim’s reliably bizarre stop-motion show Robot Chicken. His toolkit includes one very unique item: A modified Power Glove that wirelessly controls his animation software. His bespoke peripheral is the subject of this lovely short video by LA filmmaker Ava Benjamin.
The origin story: A few years back, Markey was animating a scene, moving from one side of the stage to the other, walking from the stage to his computer and back again. “I remember thinking, carrying this USB-attached numeric keypad all around the stage with me, ‘Why don’t I just have this on my arm?'” Bingo! For Markey, a childhood Power Glove devotee, the solution was obvious.
With the help of a friend, Markey rigged up a glove that serves as a wireless controller for his animation software of choice, allowing him to navigate frames and capture shots without walking back to his gear. He also outfitted the glove with a clever set of retractable tweezers, secured magnets, which he uses to tweak the tiny expressions on his characters’ faces.
You’d assume this sort of thing would purely be an exercise in nostalgia, and at least in part, it is. But it also seems the Power Glove is a pretty damn sensible interface for Markey’s line of work. Watching him use the thing to speed through frames, it’s easy to forget you’re seeing a novelty controller for a two-decade-old gaming console. These shots might even remind you of something else, something familiar … By Yoshi’s tail, the Power Glove is a wearable! It’s a quirky old relative to the very gadgets we’re so obsessed with today!
It makes you consider what a life the Power Glove has led. For a brief moment in 1989, it was pinnacle of cool. Today it’s the pinnacle of silly. Which of today’s crop of wearables and gadgets will suffer the same fate? How long will it be before the Apple Watch looks as goofy as the first iPhone does today? When will we look back and have a good laugh about our obsession with counting steps? In what year will the first shimmering holographic hipster ironically don a pair of vintage 2014 Google Glass?