The Myo utilizes a user’s electrical muscle activity to control technology. This wearable isn’t specifically designed to do one thing, but rather to do many things, and more uses are being created by enthusiastic developers on an ongoing basis. We spoke with Sameera Banduk, Marketing Director at Thalmic Labs, to tell us more.
Describe Thalmic Labs.
Thalmic Labs is pioneering methods for interacting with the digital world. With a mission to merge people and technology, our company is revolutionizing how we will interact with technology in the future. Our first product, the Myo armband, measures electrical activity in a user’s muscles to wirelessly control computers, phones, and other digital technologies using only their arm gestures.
Tell us more about Myo.
The Myo armband uses the electrical activity of a user’s muscles, combined with the motion of your forearm, to wirelessly control technology around you, touch-free. Unlike camera-based solutions such as Leap Motion and Microsoft Kinect, Myo maintains a connection when a user is on the move which makes it the perfect solution for a truly mobile experience.
What sets Myo apart from other wearables?
Myo is an input device. The interesting thing about wearables is that they often all get lumped together, though the products in this group can be very different. Many wearables that people talk about today include smart watches and fitness trackers, which are completely different than the Myo armband.
What inspired you to create Myo?
The founders of Thalmic Labs’ thesis was that, while much progress had been made on display modalities, interface and gesture control technologies weren’t up to the task: voice was out as people aren’t comfortable talking to themselves in public and camera-based systems aren’t suitable for mobile environments. The keyboard and mouse absolutely still have their place in the market, but the Myo makes sense where traditional inputs fail. Examples include Myo interacting with heads-up displays like Google Glass, virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift, or even to control PowerPoint slides while keeping your hands free.
What has been one of the most challenging parts of getting started? How did you overcome this and what did you learn?
We faced so many challenges in bringing the Myo armband to market over a short two years. One of the biggest challenges we faced was a technical one – existing sensor technology that picks up muscle activity signals wasn’t suitable for our application, so we spent over a year developing our own sensor from the ground up. We also did some revolutionary things in terms of the mechanical design of the Myo armband. Lastly, convincing a manufacturer to come on board and take the risk to produce this device with us was incredibly challenging.
Where can we buy Myo and what is the cost?
What’s next for Thalmic Labs?
At Thalmic, we’re excited about the future of technology. Specifically, the idea of closely coupling us as humans with digital technology in ways that improve or enhance our lives and/or abilities. For us, Myo is a first step down a long path in this direction.
To find out more about Myo, check out their website here and watch the video below. Can’t wait to see what’s next!
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