February 27, 2013
Waterloo-based startup Thalmic Labs has launched Myo, an armband that enables the wearer to use the electrical activity in his muscles to wirelessly control his computer, Smartphone, tablet and other digital technologies.
“Using groundbreaking technology, Myo is able to measure electrical activity in your muscles instantly,” reads the website. “The result is a seamless way to interact with computers, and a truly magical sense of control.”
The Myo senses gestures and movements through either muscle activity or motion sensing.
“When sensing the muscle movements of the user, the device can detect changes in hand gesture right down to each individual finger,” the website says. “When tracking the positioning in space of the arm and hand, the device can detect subtle movements in all directions.”
Movements are detected quite quickly — sometimes even before the user’s hand begins to move. This happens “because the muscles are activated slightly before your fingers actually start moving, and we are able to detect the gesture before that happens.”
The bands, which comes in black or white, can control presentations, video, content, games, browse the Internet, create music and edit videos to name a few functions. And, with developers continually dreaming up new ways to use Myo, more options are on the way.
The one-size-fits-all device is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS and APIs will also be available for iOS and Android developers to integrate Myo on those platforms.
The gadget uses Bluetooth 4.0 low energy to communicate with the devices it is paired with. It features on-board, rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries, an ARM processor and Thalmic’s proprietary muscle activity sensors.
The device, which is set to ship late this year, will retail for $149. Only a limited number are available, but consumers can preorder the device.
The company is also planning to launch a developer site with further information on APIs and integration.