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Date: Wed, 6 Oct 93 21:55:06 -0700
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Originator: glove-list@boxer
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From: Ben Gross <>
To: wixer!pacoid
Subject: PGSI updated FAQ 10/6/93
X-Listprocessor-Version: 6.0a -- ListProcessor by Anastasios Kotsikonas
Status: RO
The Official PowerGlove Serial Interface (PGSI) Frequently Asked Questions
(FAQ) post.
Last modified: 10-6-93
Previously released version: 3-18-93
Maintained by: Ben Gross (
Stored on: in /ACM/PGSI as pgsi-faq
The FAQ has been spilt into two files:
pgsi-faq and pgsi-history
both are available on the FTP site.
! denotes a new question.
+ denotes an update to the question
NOTE: The FTP site is currently being reconfigured, we are not able to
update our files until this process in finished, when the update is done,
(hopefully soon), we will place all the latest info there.
The ftp site has moved please make sure you use and not
+1 What is the PGSI?
The PGSI is a small device measuring 3.35" by 1" by 1.5" that plugs right in
to any DB-25 style RS-232 connector. The device should work on any IBM, IBM
compatible, Amiga, Macintosh, Workstation, or other type of computer that
has a serial port. The device
integrates the PowerGlove and SEGA style shutter glasses into the computer
as input/output devices, and communicates with them using standard RS- 232
data values. The interface emulates the AGE command set and the Menelli
command set, has extensions to allow the user to read in values from 8
Analog-Digital Ports, 1 digital port consisting of 8 pins, and can be
reprogrammed with code updates or extensions by the end user.
+2 Will the PGSI work on my machine?
This one is easy. The answer is yes if your machine has access to a RS-232
(EIA-232) port and no if does not. The IBM, Amiga, and workstations
typically have a port that will work directly, Mac users will either need to
purchase the MAC MiniDin 8 to DB-25 adapter, or purchase one from ACM at
UIUC. If you have a 9 pin serial port you will need to buy a nine to
twenty-five pin converter from some electronics store.
+3 Why get a PGSI instead of the parallel port version?
First, the parallel port version uses CPU cycles, it is also dependent on
the CPU for speed to some degree. The fact that the parallel port version
uses the parallel port may limit availability for some users. Some
machines made today do not have a parallel port, these include many
workstations. In addition, the parallel port may not be standard across all
platforms. The PGSI works with the serial port which is standard on nearly
every machine made today. It also contains its own micro-controller so that
relatively little processor time is used.
4 What does the PGSI package include?
A users manual
Demo Programs (MAC or IBM)
The latest online documentation
Anything else we found that looked interesting
All code and updates will be put on our anonymous FTP site.
+5 What software is available for the PGSI?
Currently, we have a functional Mac mouse driver replacement written by one
of our members, Jay Kreibich ( We will include the binary and
the source with the PGSI Mac distribution. Jay should also have libraries
and source by shipping time. We have PC and windows versions of the drivers
in the works which will be done by distribution time. Another of our
members Chris Wilson ( has written a windows 3.1
application called Maestro II. Maestro allows you to use the glove on a
virtual keyboard that outputs to a midi device.
If anyone is interested in writing drivers or other software we will gladly
take submissions and distribute them. As of this date we have no plans to
sell any of the software for the PGSI and will probably distribute it under
a GNU license. All of out available software will be placed on our ftp
6 What are the capabilities SEGA driver circuitry?
The SEGA driver circuitry is capable of the following:
No wire control (Use software RS-232 commands to emulate two wire
The SEGA circuitry is used used to power the LCD shutter glasses, which can
be used with a monitor to present the illusion of a 3-Dimensional picture
on- screen.
+7 Does the PGSI come with a power supply?
The interface is not sold with a power supply, although it does need one.
It uses a standard "brick" type supply, so the designers felt it
unnecessary to make the user purchase what they may already have. The PGSI
can accept a wide variety of input voltages, both AC or DC. Anything from
9 volts to 24 volts and less than one Amp is acceptable, and users do not
need worry about polarity of plugs. The PGSI has its own built-in polarity
converter to achieve the correct polarity. The PGSI user may purchase a
power supply in their order, but the PGSI team encourages users to purchase
their own (they are cheaper elsewhere).
Jim had previously stated that six through nine volts would work, we have
found this incorrect (the hard way). We have had almost no luck with
anything under nine volts.
!8 I have heard you guys had some problems, why all the delays?
A number of problems have plagued the release of the PGSI. Most notably,
the fact that it is a student project means that resources are allocated to
it sporadically, corresponding to those times when no homework, exams or
projects must be completed. Another involved legalities. Generally,
universities cannot sell items for profit, and the National Association for
Computing Machinery is classified as a not-for-profit organization.
Although ACM at UIUC stated that profits from the sale of the PGSI will be
used for purchase of equipment and supplies for the Special Interest Group
(SIG) developing the PGSI, legal problems caused several weeks worth of
delays. Once we completed the circuit board design we sent it out to a
company who bought the parts in bulk and mostly assembled the units for us.
Even though we had to assemble a small part of the units, it took hours and
hours to complete. In addition several parts were not in stock a had to be
ordered causing further delays. Our final problem and one that caused the
biggest delay was the power supply. The board had been designed with an
uncommon power jack, and we could not find a large quantity of power
supplies to fit them. Eventually, we removed the jacks from the power
supplies and added out own. This was all compounded by the fact that much
of this took place over the summer when most of the students, our labor
force, had gone home. Our last and final problem was that of bootstrapping
the code onto the kits. It seems that we could not find a version of our
bootstrap code for the kits we had in the office. We now have one that
9 Where can I find more information about the PGSI and the PowerGlove?
This FAQ is your best bet for a start. Next I would check our FTP site: in /ACM/PGSI
check the /ACM/PGSI/README file for what's currently available.
The USENET group sci.virtual-worlds has discussions on both the PGSI and the
PowerGlove as well as many other aspects of virtual reality. The group
sci.virtual-worlds.apps discusses various working applications that
incorporate virtual reality. The newsgroups are moderated. Archives of
sci.virtual-worlds are located on in pub/user-
supported/virtual-worlds/postings. Archives of sci.virtual-worlds.apps are
located on in pub/sci.virtual-worlds.apps. Many of the applications
discussed in these newsgroups are also located on these ftp sites.
There is a mailing list called the glove list that carries discussions about
the PowerGlove and the PGSI. You can subscribe to it by sending email to: put this in body: subscribe glove-list <email address>
Problems go to, *NOT* to the glove list.
"This is now on a unix-listserv thingie, so the method of getting archives
will change. Send a message to with a body of
'info glove-list' or 'help' for more information.'
"Currently there is no ftp site for the glove-list. Instead, there is the
archive server capabilities from unix-listserv. Send a message to with a body of 'get glove README' for a list of
what is available."
For those without USENET access there are listservs called virtu-l and
vrapp-l. They contain reposts from sci.virtual worlds and
sci.virtual-worlds.apps. You can subscribe by sending a message to or listserv@uiucvmd on Bitnet) with a message body
containing: subscribe virtu-l Your_Full_Name or subscribe vrapp-l
+10 What is the 2.5 mm phono plug to coax plug adapter for?
Some people will try to use their own power supply, but it will have this
plug which looks like a miniature coax plug, with a pin in the center, and a
steel case around the outside. This end is common, but will not work on the
PGSI. (We tried, but it was too tall). The PGSI uses the 2.5 mm phono plug.
It is less common, but looks like the smallest version of the big 1/4"
headset plug on older radio headsets and some microphones. This is what you
need to power the PGSI.
+11 Can I purchase it as a kit?
If there is a reasonable amount of demand we will offer kits. We had a
large number of problems with distributing the kits. They are somewhat
cheaper, and I guess for some, more fun. I you would like to purchase a
kit, let us know when we send the new order forms out. Email us before you
send in your order, if there is enough demand and we have all the problems
worked out, it is starting to look better, we will offer a kit form of the
pgsi. Pretty much all the problems with the kits will be solved in the
second run.
+12 Is it possible to obtain the user's manual and is it on FTP?
The latest version 0.3 in available on our new FTP site: in /ACM/PGSI
check the /ACM/PGSI/README file for what's currently available.
If you do not have access to FTP we can email uuencoded copies to you.
Note: This version is out of date, we will be updating it soon.
+13 What about two glove support?
There is support for two gloves in both the pgsi code and the hardware,
neither have been tested. Now that we have most of the problems worked
out, we should have two glove support more or less officially in the next
version of the code.
Note: two PGSI Single-glove units will not work together, since the devices
are not synchronized and the glove units will interfere.
+17 Will there be a second production?
Yes. If you would like to be counted for the second run please let me know.
There is no formal shipping date as of yet. I would recommend that you ftp
an order form fill it out and mail it electronically. We will then announce
when we will officially be taking orders. The second run will be far
different from the first, we have learned a great deal from our past mishaps
and will not repeat them. Please make sure you use an updated order form,
there will be an October 1993 order form this will be the one to use once it
is available. All others are severely incorrect.
18 Did you remove support for the keyboard?
No, in an earlier post, Jim indicated the special stuff on the keypad was
left out of the new code. Many thought this meant no keypad at all. Wrong.
Jim had originally mapped special functions to the keypad buttons that could
be activated from the keypad, but he dropped that. Full AGE compatibility
is still there, as well as Menelli compatibility.
Ben Gross -- PGSI team leader

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