Gadgets & Apps

Get A Grip: High-Tech Gloves For Golfers, Skiers

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Seasoned golfer Joe Frey tests out the SensoGlove in Denver. i i

Seasoned golfer Joe Frey tests out the SensoGlove in Denver. Kirk Siegler for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Kirk Siegler for NPR
Seasoned golfer Joe Frey tests out the SensoGlove in Denver.

Seasoned golfer Joe Frey tests out the SensoGlove in Denver.

Kirk Siegler for NPR

People take their smartphones and tablets everywhere these days. But when they take them outside, sometimes the elements get in the way. Have you ever had your screen freeze up in the cold or feel your fingers get numb from removing your gloves to make a call? It's not uncommon — especially during ski season in Colorado.

So, Jean Spencer, and her mother, Jennifer, invented a glove that aims to keep your fingers warm while you update your Facebook status or check email on the slopes or in a chilly subway terminal.

At Loveland Ski Area near Georgetown, Colo., Jennifer Spencer models the Aglove, which is black with a sparkle in it.

"And that sparkle is the actual silver in the glove, and it's the silver that makes the glove conductive," she says.

To illustrate how the glove works, the Spencers bring an iPad to the mountain and play a virtual piano while wearing the gloves.

They also hand a pair of Agloves to Matthew Coleman, a snowboarder they spot who is clumsily taking off his gloves and trying to make a call.

"Wow, I can click really small spaces," he says. "I have really good dexterity and accuracy."

A number of companies are manufacturing high-tech gloves. But they're not just for operating personal gadgets. There are also sophisticated gloves for farming, gardening, baseball and golf.

A Glove To Monitor Your Golf Swing

At the Park Hill Golf Club in Denver, my friend Joe Frey tests out the SensoGlove — a glove with a computer chip.

The chip rests on the top of Frey's hand. It has a screen and reacts to sensors in the fingers of the glove. When Frey takes a swing, the screen tells him whether any of his fingers are gripping the club too hard.

After Frey takes a swing, the screen shows a hand with a pinkie lit up and blinking. That means he gripped the club too hard with that finger, suggesting his shoulders aren't relaxed enough.

I'm no golfer. But Frey, who's a seasoned golfer, is skeptical about the glove's feedback.

"There's a hundred pieces of the swing," he says. "Your grip is one of those hundred."

Frey thinks the SensoGlove may be a better fit for people who grip their club too hard.

But even the most high-tech glove won't help a novice like me.

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