The excitement began in February 2013, when Thalmic Labs released a video of its prototype:
In December, the company shipped prototypes to developers, but, ultimately, delayed the overall product, hoping to improve the industrial design. Co-found and CEO of Thalmic Labs, Stephen Lake, told Business Insider:
via Thalmic Labs
Thalmic unveiled the new design on June 10th and essentially revamped the entire design, cutting the weight roughly by a quarter and making it significantly more aesthetic. According to Thalmic, "The final armband features a state-of-the-art design and is comprised of a thin, expandable band, which is half the thickness of the Myo Alpha units. This new and improved armband also weighs in at just under 95 grams, which is less than the average male stainless steel wrist watch. Thanks to its light weight and thin design, you can wear your Myo armband comfortably under clothing, all day long."
So, what does it look like on your arm? Like this:
via Thalmic Labs
One word: stellar.
But this is all talk. The prior video was just a mock, so what does this thing really look like in action? In January, CNET got a cool demonstration. (Note: this is prior to the redesign.):
Some might be wondering how this all works. Check out the next page and prepare to have a nerdgasm (I did).
Ever had or heard of an EMG (electromyography) before? That's what Lake and co-founder Matt Bailey are using in their product. EMGs detect and translate electric signals that produce contractions in the muscle. When you move your finger, an electrical current is produced. So, how does the band work? It measures the electric signals your muscles are about to make, understanding the gesture before you even actually make a real hand gesture. The Myo knows you'll rotate your hand to turn up the volume before you actually rotate it.
Presently, most of the work is actually planned on the software and applications side. According to co-founder Aaron Grant, "We’re putting a lot of work into making our SDK and the software development with Myo very easy and straightforward while also allowing more advanced developers to do what they want to do." He goes on to say:
We’re doing a number of things for developers to make it really easy to use the Myo to control all your different technologies. We’re doing all the heavy lifting in terms of integrating Myo with all the various platforms and different kinds of devices and software you might want to use and providing a really easy way for developers to take that and be really creative with it.
One might wonder about the practicality of such a device as this, whether it can handle complex tasks. Whether it can is up in the air, but many developers have a lot of interest, ensuring that this device can be pushed to the limits. Below, you'll see Thalmic Labs combining an Occulus Rift with the Myo Band: