In this paper, we present preliminary work on a novel wearable joystick for gloves-on human/computer interaction
in hazardous environments. Interacting with traditional input devices can be clumsy and inconvenient for the
operator in hazardous environments due to the bulkiness of multiple system components and troublesome wires.
During a collapsed structure search, for example, protective clothing, uneven footing, and "snag" points in
the environment can render traditional input devices impractical. Wearable computing has been studied by
various researchers to increase the portability of devices and to improve the proprioceptive sense of the wearer's
intentions. Specifically, glove-like input devices to recognize hand gestures have been developed for general-purpose
applications. But, regardless of their performance, prior gloves have been fragile and cumbersome to
use in rough environments. In this paper, we present a new wearable joystick to remove the wires from a simple,
two-degree of freedom glove interface. Thus, we develop a wearable joystick that is low cost, durable and robust,
and wire-free at the glove. In order to evaluate the wearable joystick, we take into consideration two metrics
during operator tests of a commercial robot: task completion time and path tortuosity. We employ fractal
analysis to measure path tortuosity. Preliminary user test results are presented that compare the performance
of both a wearable joystick and a traditional joystick.