Army-approved winter gloves work with touchscreens
Agloves allow wearers to operate the touchscreen on a smartphone.
February 13th, 2012
11:04 AM ET

Army-approved winter gloves work with touchscreens

By Mark Milian, CNN

(CNN) - The U.S. Army has been working for about two years on outfitting its soldiers with smartphones, but one obstacle to this technological upgrade likely will be familiar to anybody who has tried to operate a touchscreen phone in the winter:

Smartphones and gloves do not get along.

Rather than putting government money toward developing a new type of glove, the Army went on a little shopping spree. If the government is coming late to smartphones, and buying those from stores instead of building them, then surely someone must have solved this problem.

They aren't mainstream yet, but several companies indeed sell gloves that let the wearer operate a touchscreen without taking them off. And as more people discover the limits of their Android companions on a snowy day, these types of gloves could take off.

The Army and Air Force have landed on one brand in particular: Agloves. The little-known Colorado company is up against giant brands, including North Face, and more than half a dozen other scrappy upstarts, like Dots, Echo Touch, Freehands, Power Stretch and Tavo.

Yet, Agloves gets the top endorsement from the Army, where a shoddy glove doesn't mean a missed call but perhaps a lost life. The Army's Fort Bliss outpost in Texas tested several models of gloves promising smartphone compatibility as part of its mobility program. Evaluators favored Agloves, and the Army has sent many pairs of them overseas to fighters.

"These technologies coming out of small companies are literally game-changers," Michael McCarthy, a technology director for the Army, said in a phone interview.

The plain-looking winter gloves were described by the blog Mashable, a CNN content partner, as not particularly fashionable. For Jennifer Spencer, the 52-year-old founder and president of Agloves, fashion was never the point.

"Our competitors are in the fashion industry," Spencer said by phone. "We want to be seen as a wireless accessory first and foremost."

For that reason, you won't find Agloves in Macy's or Nordstrom. Instead, Agloves is sold at Best Buy, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and U.S. Cellular stores, which is where about half of its inventory was sold last winter season. They can also be purchased from and at the Agloves website.

Touchscreens are designed to respond to the natural electricity that our bodies produce, mainly through sweat. Agloves works by pulling the bio electricity from the wearer's wrist and palms, and transferring it to the fingers of the glove.

Agloves will ramp up production for the next winter season and add a couple of new styles, Spencer said. Current models cost either $18 or $24 per pair, a reasonable price for an Army-caliber utility.

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Filed under: Fashion • Military • Tech
soundoff (33 Responses)
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    April 24, 2013 at 12:42 am | Reply
  4. Terisa

    Hey 00:19 ..three people in gray suits.. well like in the mioevs there are the MIB and story (which of course is use to pass down a message to other..) of people who always just so happen whom have the authority to be there to collect such evidence of UFOs and ETs.VA:F [1.9.9_1125]please wait...VA:F [1.9.9_1125](from 0 votes)

    March 20, 2012 at 2:02 am | Reply
  5. Jovan

    Я из Эстонии, очень понравилось пара фраз из поста блога моего начальника:Please do something to stop the evil devil Russia. This cnortuy, power in this cnortuy has done most bad in the whole world all through the history. Most bad to their own people, most to the other nations. Why nobody stops Russia!И это слова взрослого человека, наглядный пример что твориться в головах, промыленных местными и зарубежными медиа источниками.

    March 18, 2012 at 11:30 am | Reply
  6. old news

    Lol. Once again, the federal "government" is behind the times. I've had a set for about 3 years or so. Yep, made in China.

    February 14, 2012 at 11:17 am | Reply
    • Auth

      Erudite, welcome back. I am onokilg forward to increasing my blood pressure meds. First, where is you link for this and second, get a clue. You know as well as I do what these guys are facing while we are at home stroking our keyboards.

      March 18, 2012 at 3:02 am | Reply
  7. nummy

    @BobT Then explain how lightning strikes travel from the ground, or water, upwards. Proven by SCIENCE. And super slow motion photography. Also, the ocean does carry a natural electric charge. So review your facts before trying to not be condescending. And if you could have done better, why didn't you?

    February 14, 2012 at 8:04 am | Reply
    • Bob T

      "Then explain how lightning strikes travel from the ground, or water, upwards. Proven by SCIENCE."

      I cringe when people say the phrase, "Proven by science". For some reason, it seems to be a good indication that they have no idea what they're talking about. The ground and ocean do not generate electricity. That most certainly is not "Proven by SCIENCE". Lightning usually travels from ground to sky because of the direction of the electric field which has build up due to separation of +ive and -ive charge through natural atmospheric phenomena. Pick up a basic book on physics for more information on properties of electric fields.

      "Also, the ocean does carry a natural electric charge."

      The ocean as a whole likely does not. However, due to non-uniform distribution of +ive and -ive charge, small, localized net charges may briefly be observed, leading to small transient electric currents. This isn't the same thing as generating electricity.

      "So review your facts before trying to not be condescending."

      Back at ya.

      "And if you could have done better, why didn't you?"

      That's not really a relevant or applicable comment.

      February 14, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Reply
  8. leslie20

    Good work, Agloves!

    February 14, 2012 at 1:32 am | Reply
  9. Bob T

    "Touchscreens are designed to respond to the natural electricity that our bodies produce, mainly through sweat. Agloves works by pulling the bio electricity from the wearer's wrist and palms, and transferring it to the fingers of the glove."

    Bio electricity... Really? The author of this article is a flipping idiot. Truly.

    1) Usually, I'd feel condescending pointing this out, but salt water - what sweat is primarily made of - does not generate electricity. If it did, lightning wouldn't come from the sky, it'd come from the ocean.

    2) As I assume most people know, transferring electricity involves an electric current - a stream of charge. By extension, transferring electricity from your fingers into anything else implies, basically, that you can shoot lighting from your fingertips.

    3) By the author's reasoning, a penny sitting on a counter generates electricity - mostly from the sweat it produces. I say this to explain why, through the author's reasoning, you can use a penny - or any other electrically conductive material - to control the touchscreen on your phone.... since, you know, touchscreens are controlled by 'bio electricity'.

    4) About 1,000,000 other reasons that would be really obvious to anyone with an understanding of electronics. Or touchscreens. Or Wikipedia probably.

    5) Agloves' gloves - or any other glove - most certainly do not work by, "pulling the bio electricity from the wearer's wrist and palms... [sic]".

    I'm going to feel like a jerk if the author turns out to be younger than 15 and/or mentally challenged. If so, I'm sorry, and am proud of you for writing an article that got published somewhere. If not, what's your excuse? Seriously? I hope you're not trying to make a career as a journalist. You may find tabloids, or science fiction, more your speed.

    February 13, 2012 at 11:55 pm | Reply
    • Veteran

      Totally agree... What does CNN stand for? Complete Nonsense News???

      February 14, 2012 at 6:03 am | Reply
      • Troop

        How bout you explain it veteran. you'd rather just complain also ?

        February 14, 2012 at 6:16 am |
      • One

        I'll just leave this right here....

        February 14, 2012 at 11:54 am |
      • Edmond

        when exactly did you see this? did the sences of war scare you? don't watch next time. call your mommy, cover your head with a blanket, and have her talk to you calmly in her best mommy voice until it's over. and don't worry about our troops they're real men and women. you'll understand some day.

        March 17, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Troop

      Why don't you explain it then. If your so smart. Or do you just cover the criticism ?

      February 14, 2012 at 6:13 am | Reply
      • Bob T

        @Troop: Sure, if you'd like. The two main types of touchscreens for phones are 'resistive' and 'capacitive'. The principles they're based on are relatively simple.

        Resistive: The screen is laden with electrically resistive material, and touching the screen creates two voltage dividers (horz/vert). The screen then passes a small current through the rows and columns of resistive material and can determine, based on the voltages it measures, how far from the side/top of the screen the object which touched it is.

        Capacitive: These work on the same basic principle as those non-moving buttons on your microwave. Those buttons are capacitors, and touching them affects their capacitance - moreso if the object touching them is electrically conductive. Capacitive touchscreens are a much more complex version of this, wherein localized changes in capacitance can be detected by the screen and mapped into a position. Phones which advertise support for 'multi-touch' have this type of screen.

        February 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
      • Bob T

        @Troop: I'm guessing the gloves are laced with conductive material at the fingertips, so that touching a capacitive touchscreen will produce a larger, more measurable effect. For resistive touchscreens, I'm not sure it would matter. I believe you can control those with a plastic stylus, so I don't think it matters if you're touching them with something conductive.

        February 14, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
      • cathy m

        I don't want to join the discussion about electricity but I noticed on 2 of I have that they have some sort of metallic looking thread on the fingertips. Also, I had a pair of unlined regular leather gloves and was surprised they even worked. Not very warm though.

        February 15, 2012 at 1:34 am |
    • One

      1) Salt water does conduct (not "generates" as you said) electricity because of the presence of ions in salt water. Aqueous solutions such as salt water conduct electricity through the movement of ions. If ions exist in any solution to a reasonable extent, it will conduct electricity.

      2) The human body is a conductor of electricity. Ever get a static shock when you touch a metal object? DID YOU JUST SUMMON LIGHTNINGZ!?!

      3) Again, a penny is made of copper which conducts electricity. The natural electrical charge within our bodies passes through our fingers to the penny to the screen. He made one minor error saying it was the sweat that conducted electricity. Obviously you're "sweating" over the minor details. See what I did there?

      4) Name one.

      5) Ever heard of a static bracelet? When working with electronic components, these bracelets, WHICH ATTACH TO YOUR WRIST, ground you to a metal object you've clipped it to so the static from your body is rerouted. It'd be very simple to have a wrist strap made of a conductor, say metal wool, that has a thread sewn into each finger of the glove so it can work with the screen of a phone.

      6) Try not to be such an a**hole.

      February 14, 2012 at 11:38 am | Reply
      • Bob T


        Yeah... So that's an article about the small electric signals sent by your brain/nervous system to control your body... Not to be confused with an article which would validate the author's claim that humans transfer electric currents through their fingertips which can be used to power/control electronic devices.

        "1) Salt water does conduct (not "generates" as you said) "

        I believe you mean "'generate' as the author said". Either that, or you missed the part where the author claimed that humans transmit electricity - primarily through their sweat - which these gloves "pull" from our bodies.

        "3) Again, a penny is made of copper which conducts electricity. The natural electrical charge within our bodies passes through our fingers to the penny to the screen. He made one minor error saying it was the sweat that conducted electricity. Obviously you're "sweating" over the minor details. See what I did there?"

        No, that's definitely not how touchscreens work. See what I did there?

        "5) Ever heard of a static bracelet? When working with electronic components, these bracelets, WHICH ATTACH TO YOUR WRIST, ground you to a metal object you've clipped it to so the static from your body is rerouted."

        Discharge of static electricity is not the same thing as generating electricity. I get the impression from your first sentence that you've probably taken an intro course on electronics. I get the impression from most of the rest of your comments, that you probably didn't do very well.

        February 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  10. already have it

    I work at Nordstrom and we've had these forever northface made them like 2 years ago. google "e-tip gloves". what a fail story

    February 13, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Reply
    • EMP

      Well there's your first work at a Nordstrom.

      February 14, 2012 at 8:28 am | Reply
      • Emine

        Freitag, 25.November 2011 um 15:56 | Nun, ich have auch mit dem Gedanken gespielt. Bei Pearl gibts hclewe f r 6,95, die haben halt nur leitende Fingerkuppen sollte ja aber reichen. Was auch geht, ist ein Eingabestift! Den hab ich mir selbergebaut: ein d nnes Metallr hrchen mit elektrisch leitendem ESD-Schaumstoff umwickelt und Klebeband drum, ne Spitze freilassen. Von Alex H | Sonntag, 27.November 2011 um 22:40 | Des geht mit allen duennen Handschuhen.Sind warm und es geht mit ihnen auf dem tuch screen. Ich trage zwei Handschuhe einmal mit wildleder und einmal mit nike handschuhen , sind glaub ich zumindest aus fleece wenn ich mich nicht teusche. zumindest geht es . Hinterlasse deinen Kommentar Die Blog-Kommentarfunktion soll es dem User ermf6glichen eine sachliche Diskussion zu ffchren. Dabei sollte jeder User daran denken Andere so zu behandeln, wie Er selbst gern behandelt werden mf6chten. Jeder User ist dabei ffcr den von Ihm publizierten Kommentar selbst verantwortlich, jedoch behe4lt sich die Redaktion vor Beitre4ge, hclewe einer sachlichen Diskussion nicht ff6rderlich sind, zu bearbeiten oder zu lf6schen. Ihre E-Mail wird niemals verf6ffentlicht oder verteilt. Benf6tigte Felder sind mit * markiert Name * E-Mail * Website Kommentar Du kannst folgende HTML-Tags und -Attribute benutzen: Absenden SuchenSuchenKategorie oder Topprodukt we4hlen3DAudio & Hi-FiBloggeflfcsterBlu-rayCeBIT2010CES 2010CES 2011DesignDesktop PCsDigital SignageFashionFernseherFestplattenGadgetsgamingHandyHaushaltIFAInside LGIPSlaptopLCDLED-LeuchtmittelLifestyleLuxusMesseMitmachenMonitoreNAS & StorageNetbooksnotebookOffbeatOLEDpadPCPlasmaplayerProjektorenSmartphonesolarTabletTechnologieTVUnkategorisiertWerbungZubehf6rAktuelle Highlights:Tags RSS FeedsNeueste Beitre4geLG auf argentinischer Messe biel light + building'Vom 8. bis 12 November 2011 fand die Messe biel light + building im argentinischen Buenos Aires statt.Mit seiner globalen Strategie, sich als umfasse PRADA und LG pr sentieren das PRADA phone by LG 3.0Der ein oder andere von euch erinnert sich mit Sicherheit noch daran, dass LG Electronics und PRADA bereits Ende November angek ndigt haben, ihre Verwandte Beitre4gePRADA und LG pre4sentieren das PRADA phone by LG 3.0Der ein oder andere von euch erinnert sich mit Sicherheit noch daran, dass LG Electronics und PRADA bereits Ende November angekfcndigt haben, ihre erfolgreiche Partnerschaft fortzusetzen und zwar in Form eines neuen PRADA phone by LG. Dieses kann ich ...Smartphone wird interaktiv dank gestengesteuerter Projektion Wissenschaft ist schon was tolles. Bringt sie doch regelme4dfig Dinge hervor, die uns zuvor noch vf6llig unbekannt waren. Wissenschaftler der Universite4t Duisburg-Essen haben sich nun ein Android-Smartphone und einen Pico-Projektor geschnappt und b ...Lerne LG ne4her kennenLG LinklisteLG Microsites

        March 19, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
  11. You know me!

    Give it a few weeks, Walmart will have a pair for 7 bucks! I think ill wait.

    # just imagine the big acct. AGloves scored with the US Govt. Though!


    February 13, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Reply
    • Support the USA

      Yea....wait for the Chinese ones at Walmart....I mean why buy from a company here in the states? This is the REAL reason the economy sucks!!!!!!!

      February 14, 2012 at 6:59 am | Reply
    • cathy m

      I actually bought a pair at Walmart a couple months ago for about $3. I had never heard of them before. They work really well but cause they are thin they don't keep your hands warm. After seeing that they actually worked I spent about $18 for Isotoners. Those suck. Only the thumb and forefingers are made to work. The Walmart ones have the thumbs, forefingers and middle fingers work. I went and bought about 4 more pair at Walmart. I'll have to look for the ones made in the USA and give them a try.

      February 15, 2012 at 1:26 am | Reply
      • tsgloves

        Gloves are more protective for every user's hand. I also want to know the features on that. Well! If you want to catch out the fingers warm then just move on that at:

        August 22, 2013 at 4:46 am |
  12. William D.

    way to go USA ,keep it
    growing USA, KEEP IT GOING!!!!

    February 13, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Reply

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