Just five short years ago, a touchscreen on a phone was something of a gimmick. That is until the iPhone came along. The same can be said of today’s machines that react to the wave of hand, or the flick of a finger – something commonly referred to as gesture controls. Case in point is the Xbox 360 Kinect. While it was a remarkable piece of tech a few years ago, it’s rather slow and cumbersome to use, thanks to line of site issues and rapidly antiquated tech that supports it. So what’s the better answer? The Myo.
Developed by Thalmic Labs, the Myo is an armband that requires no visual recognition for gesture based controls. Instead, it depends on a combination of muscle movement and traditional motion control to interpret your hand and arm gestures. Arguably this is far better than camera based gesture controlled system as the only hardware dependency is Bluetooth 4.0 – the framework simply needs to exist to enable the two devices to talk to one and other.
Thalmic Labs’ product video shows off some pretty compelling use cases. Though I have to wonder just how sensitive the Myo armband is to slight shifts in muscle tissue to truly make it useable – they’ll also need to be able to rule out false positives since our muscles tend to twitch on their own.
Initially the Myo will only be compatible with Mac and Windows machines, with an eventual rollout to mobile platforms, such as iOS and Android. Developers can preorder a version for $150, though I’d hope they’ve already got a number of launch partners lined up, such as Parrot and Sphero (as seen in their demo video).