Myo: The Force Is Nearly in Our Grasp

Electronics Entertainment Geek Culture Technology
Photo: Thalmic Labs

Thalmic Labs released their mind-bogglingly awesome announcement in February 2013, that they would be producing the Myo. The Myo is a gesture control armband which will allow the user to control their various devices with their hands. Production was delayed, in the effort to maximize the product’s utility before final release. Now they have announced that the Myo will be shipped out in September 2014. I couldn’t possibly hope to explain the full awesomeness of Myo to you, so please watch the short video below.

Because it isn’t very clear in the video, let’s talk about what the Myo actually does.

To start, a user opens a small box, and inside is an epic looking armband. This armband connects to your various devices using a low-power Bluetooth connection. These devices include computers, your XBOX, your iPhone, and pretty much anything else that is Bluetooth compatible. I assume that, for many devices, some setup or “keybinding” will be necessary, however with some things, such as the XBOX, perhaps the Myo will have some controls already predetermined.

From there, the user can wear their Myo device in many different settings, and control a wide variety of devices. This control comes from the variety of arm muscles which can be monitored by the panels. Each gesture, or combination of contracted muscles, is associated with a command. This allows you to, say, wave your hand to turn on the lights, or lower your arm to dim them. It also means that smaller movements in your hands and fingers can act as controls as well, allowing for fine control without the need to hold a remote. I am looking forward to trying Minecraft with this device, and I can already imagine the epic battles which will ensue in my houseprobably involving Bluetooth-enabled RC devices.

Photo: Thalmic Labs
Photo: Thalmic Labs

My personal hope for the Myo is for it to enable more people to use the various devices that are considered standard to the average American. Individuals who might lack precise fine motor skills (or even a hand) may be able to utilize the gesture controls to allow them to play games or use other programs which may otherwise be outside their physical abilities.

It is very exciting to see a company keep refining a product for over a year and a half after its viable and popular Alpha phase. This promises to be one of the most innovative products in the Bluetooth world, and I cannot wait to see the awesome ways users integrate this inexpensive piece of technology. If you are interested in pre-ordering the Myo, you can do so on Thalmic’s website for a mere $149. The best part? The Myo will be for sale in full release by this holiday season.

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