Developed by Thalmic Labs, Inc., Myo is a gesture-controlled armband that is positioned to be the future of wearable technology. The Myo Armband is something completely new. By reading electrical activities in your muscles and motion in your arm, a user is able to control technology with hand gestures. It’s as easy as opening an app by spreading your fingers.
From controlling PowerPoint presentations (hands-free) to surgeons using gestures to navigate through patient x-rays, Myo’s groundbreaking technology is being used in a variety of settings. Its immediate impact is widespread and when used collaboratively with other technologies, like a wrist-mounted computer (Apple Watch), the results are revolutionary. Oh, and by the way, it’s super-fun to use.
Myo’s gesture-controlled armband has been a welcomed technology. Whether the wearable is being used in education, business, or healthcare, it seems to invoke creativity from its tech-savvy users. I’m fairly certain Stephen Lake, Co-founder and CEO, never imaged Myo being used to translate sign language. But it does.
Take Control of Your Digital World
Thalmic Labs’ proprietary electromyography (EMG) sensors, when used with Bluetooth Smart Wireless technology, let’s you take control of your digital world. Imagine browsing the web with a flick of the wrist making the mouse completely obsolete. The Myo Armband has a lightening-fast processor (ARM Cortex M4) with a motion data-streaming rate of 50Hz. According to users, its motion sensor is extremely accurate. Apple Co-founder gave it the thumbs by calling the technology, “very impressive.”
The best way to showcase Myo’s breakthrough technology is through its real-life application. As one could imagine, a hands-free boardroom presentation could be both impressive and engaging. Compatible with PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi, Google Slides, and Adobe Reader, speaking in front of colleagues or prospects just got exponentially easier. Being able to seamlessly control a presentation, touch-free, allows a speaker to make the experience highly interactive. The Myo Armband allows a speaker to control a digital pointer or zoom into slides with gestures and motions. Hold your fist and rotate to zoom in. Myo’s technology breaks down the barrier between speaker and audience. We’ve all experienced the presenter fumbling with the next slide or adjusting the screen, mid-delivery. Disaster. It not only distracts the presenter but also the listener. The Myo Armband restores presentation rhythm, eye contact, and interaction that technology is notorious for taking away.
Commands by Gestures
The Myo Armband is compatible with almost all devices (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android) and uses the same navigational functions we’ve all been accustomed to. What does that mean? You can use Myo to search the web, play music, turn up the volume, and switch between applications. The only difference: you get to open a menu by making a fist. Typing means moving your hand while making a holding gesture. The touch-free technology seamlessly controls all of your devices and connects with favorites like Netflix, Spotify, and iTunes. Imagine making a playlist by spreading your fingers and waving your arm.
When Technology Bumps into Healthcare
There are seemingly new ways in which the world is using Myo’s Armband. The company has a dedicated blog showcasing real-life application of its futuristic technology. When technology and healthcare bump into each other, really cool stuff tends to happen. Myo’s Armband not only bumped into the healthcare industry, but it seems to be having a long-lasting love affair with it. John Hopkins University, for example, is using two Myo Armbands to control a prosthetic arm. The Myo Armband is able to communicate with a Modular Prosthetic Limb (MPL) and provides an amputee with complete functionality. Reading the gestures in the bicep muscle, the Myo Armband is able to control the MPL’s movements. This results in a natural extension of the amputee’s arm. Amazing.
This may be a one-up situation, but Myo is also being used to help surgeons in the operating room scanning patient images (X-Rays, etc.) with hands-free gestures. Knowing that Wearable technology is the next best thing, a team of surgeons, scientists, and medical hardware experts (called ADORA) experimented with Myo to help doctors during surgery. The Adora Assistant software used the Myo Armband for hands-free control of medical images during surgery. The goal for ADORA was to find technology that could easily combat surgical infections. The Myo Armband allows for touch-free scanning of unsterile medical images and patient data. The Armband was impressive enabling surgeons to move freely about the operating room without the technology interfering with other devices. It also had enough battery life for long operational procedures.
Groundbreaking Technology with a Widespread Impact
In closing, this is one of those futuristic technologies that can be used in so many different ways. The Myo Armband seems to work best collaborating with other technologies. Arizona State University figured that out by connecting the Myo Armband to the American Sign Language software program called Sceptre. The result: sign language gestures translating onto a computer monitor. From analyzing operating room x-rays to engaging colleagues in conference rooms, the Myo’s Armband technology is extremely versatile. It has the ability to cross into many sectors and at the same time, still be used with our everyday devices. Its technology has no limits.