Controlling Electronic Devices With Your Arms (Yes… Your Arm!)

Google Glass is a very interesting project and although it has a lot of uses it would certainly be weird to change your song on your iPod in public by saying, “Next Song”. Well maybe it’s just me because realistically there are thousands of people looking odd at first using a Bluetooth headset, Siri or some other voice detection system. Now this is something new and surprisingly has a lot of practical functions. It’s called MYO by Thalmic Labs and it’s a wearable armband that allows you to send signals using the electrical pulses sent by your muscles during movement. The product will be shipping in late 2013 for $149 with an open API for developers to build or connect it to their own programs and applications.

myo

The process is called electromyography and it measures the activity from your forearm contracting and producing small amounts of electrical activity. The device then amplifies that activity by thousands of times and processes the signals. The great thing is that it will get more and more accurate over time as the device learns your specific movements more precisely and thus it’s algorithms  and accuracy improves. This technology is similarly found in high tech arm and hand prosthetics.

When a recognized command is completed you can have a small vibration occur to confirm an operation such as pointing/pinching a finger or waving/swiping your hand. The Myo’s sensors can determine when a certain gesture is being made and translate it into a digital command for your computer, phone or remote controlled vehicle.

magic of myo

Given it might not be the new hot item that everyone NEEDS you have since it isn’t made by Apple or isn’t prefixed with an i such as iMyo, it’s still a neat item that could have many uses in the home, business, teaching, health and recreation environments. Things are definitely changing and consumers are starting to witness emerging technologies that they never would have thought of embracing years prior. “Right now we’re just on the cusp of a major shift in computing, and whether it’s a Google product or something else, at some point in the next couple years wearable computing devices are going to change how everyone will communicate and interact with technology,” says Thalmic Labs co-founder Stephen Lake. “Ultimately the line between us and our devices will start becoming a lot more blurred.”

In a video showcasing some of the Myo’s uses you can view it controlling video and audio playback, switching between windows on a computer, shooting a gun in a game, directing remote controlled devices and even sending a video to share on social networks WHILE you’re skiing! The device isn’t just limited to a few uses though. “If you think about your daily life, you use your hands to interact with and manipulate just about everything you do, from pressing numbers on your phone to picking up your coffee,” says Lake. “Now think if we can take all those motions and actions and plug them into just about any computer or digital system, the possibilities are endless.”

Check out the video below:

In truth we’ve always wanted to have some kind of advanced computer on our wrists to make us feel like super heroes or futuristic badasses  How amazing would it be to play a Star Wars game and force choke someone with your own hands!? I wouldn’t be surprised if in 5 or 10 years everyone has some sort of hybrid device strapped to their body (besides the current cell phone of course!). I’m thinking more of a wrist watch that has holographic type capabilities and it will be our phone, computer, projector and maybe even stereo. As cool as it would be I hope it doesn’t turn into some thing that every “citizen” is required to have because it identifies and GPS tracks you. Sorry about that last part… Let’s keep it positive! :P

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