Touchless computer control from Waterloo tech company an early success

A local company, Thalmic Labs of Waterloo, Ontario, has developed what they are hoping could be the next big thing in wearable computing: a touchless control device. The MYO armband will allow wearers to control their computers and other Bluetooth devices just by pointing at them and moving their arms and fingers. It is not camera based, like the Xbox Kinect, but entirely gesture controlled.

According to the company, the device works “out of the box” with things users already have, like a Mac or Windows PC. Everything that is now done by means of a mouse, touchscreen, joystick or remote control device will be done with a wave of the hand. This includes video games, presentations, creating content and browsing the web. It is, as the creators say, a whole new way to interact with technology. The company is hoping to attract developers to really exploit the device’s potential.

“There are no limits on MYO’s workspace,” said Stephen Lake, a co-founder of Thalmic Labs. “Users will be able to interact with computers and devices anywhere using simple hand and finger motions. And, since we built our product for developers, the applications of MYO’s gesture control capabilities are limitless.”

To use the MYO, you just strap on the one-size-fits-all, Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy armband, which runs on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and an ARM processor. The “proprietary muscle activity sensors” detect your arm’s gestures and movements and convert the electrical activity of the muscles into wireless signals that can control wireless devices. The creators at Thalmic Labs say that the device works so efficiently and quickly that movements often seem to be detected before they are even visible.

Will consumers go for it? Early indications are very positive. Thalmic Labs  have taken advance orders for more than 25,000 of the devices as of now, at a cost of $149 each. The early success seems to have taken the company by surprise. They had hoped to sell just 7,000 of the MYO armbands by the end of March. Instead, they are now taking orders for the second shipment, and “working hard” to get them to consumers in 124 countries. They begin shipping later this year.

 

Did you miss this?

Other Popular Stories

  • Researchers Test Feasibility of EmDrive and Mach Effect Thrusters
  • The Future of Transportation
  • Cap and trade law passes in Ontario, carbon pricing set to begin
  • Oxygen from moondust? The European Space Agency is working on an "breathable air" plants for moon bases
  • Company tries to stop U.S. cleanup effort on longest oil spill in history claiming it will "lead to a bigger environmental catastrophe"
  • Renewable energy now costs less than fossil fuels in some countries: report
  • Global car sales up, luxury auto market surging in Canada: Scotiabank
  • Has the time come for irradiated beef in Canada?
  • Toronto team receives $250,000 prize for human-powered helicopter
  • Geosynthetics and clean technologies – preventing contamination, reinforcing terrain and preventing erosion
  • Economy grew fastest in north, west in 2012: Statistics Canada
  • New CEO chosen to take over Waterfront Toronto
  • SpaceX "first orbital class rocket capable of reflight" test flight today: $12 billion in contracts and a 100 missions at stake: live feed of launch
  • Building code change could help drain water heat recovery manufacturers
  • Quebec aerospace industry focused on US growth
  • How Greener Grids Can Stay Lit
  • Cars and oil pulled Canada's manufacturing down in September
  • Petronas to spend $16 billion to export Western Canadian LNG
  • Wind projects going ahead in Quebec, public not necessarily on board
  • Conditional approval for Northern Gateway pipeline
Scroll to Top