The Reading Glove

The Reading Glove is an interactive storytelling system designed and built in collaboration with Josh Tanenbaum to investigate research questions of interactive narrative, player modeling, adaptivity, and tangible embodied interaction.


The Reading Glove is an interactive narrative installation comprised of a large horizontal display surface, a wearable RFID enabled glove, and a collection of narratively rich objects. When readers pick-up objects from the surface an associated fragment of audio narration is triggered. At the same time, a reasoning engine is tracking the reader’s choices and displaying navigational recommendations on the display beneath the objects to assist the reader in solving the puzzle of the narrative.

The Reading Glove combines a wearable and tangible interaction with an expert storytelling system for a uniquely embodied narrative experience.  The system uses the metaphor of psychometry to inspire a “hands on” interaction with narrative objects. Interactors using the Reading Glove explore and reveal the “memories” of physical artifacts by handling them.

The Reading Glove itself has gone through several iterations. Version 1.0 consisted of a wearable RFID-enabled glove and tagged objects that allowed readers to experience an interactive narrative by picking up objects that have been augmented with story fragments.  There is a video of Reading Glove 1.0 and details of the design process on our blog.

For Reading Glove 2.0 we added a tabletop display and a recommendation engine the helped to guide readers through assembling the distributed narrative.  This version has its own video and its development is also documented on the blog.

In the summer and fall of 2010 we ran a series of user studies exploring how participants experienced the adaptive system and object-based narrative. We collected a mixture of qualitative and quantitative data, including questionnaires, system logs, video logs, and interviews.  The Reading Glove was one of three cases I studied for my dissertation research. The Reading Glove project was funded as part of the GRAND NCE network, and my work on it was additionally funded via an NSERC Discovery Grant.