Over the last five years, the touchscreen has supplanted the mouse and keyboard as the primary way that many of us interact with computers. But will multitouch enjoy a 30-year reign like its predecessor? Or will a newcomer swoop in and steal its crown? One up-and-comer, Thalmic Labs, hopes that the next ruler will be 3D gesture control.
Like Microsoft Kinect and the upcoming Leap Motion, MYO lets you control a computer with Minority Report-like gestures. But unlike those devices, which rely on optical sensors, MYO employs a combination of motion sensing and muscular activity.
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The actual MYO device is an armband. When worn, it senses gestures, and sends the corresponding signal (via Bluetooth 4.0) to a paired device. The company claims that the muscular detection (via proprietary sensors) “can sense changes in gesture down to the individual finger.”
In the company’s promo video (which you can watch below) we see people controlling iTunes tracks, playing Mass Effect 3, and giving boardroom presentations – all via gesture. The video closes with a skier (wearing a Google Glass-like device) posting his first-person extreme winter sports video to Facebook with a few flips of the wrist.
One thing you won’t see in the video is anybody using anything other than one arm. Since the device wraps around one arm, that limb – including its corresponding hand and fingers – is all that it can sense. MYO’s optical-based competition – Leap Motion and Kinect – don’t have this constraint.
MYO is already up for pre-order for US$149. The company has also launched a developer API to get a jump on software support. Thalmic Labs says the MYO will ship in “late 2013.”
Can MYO stand out in a gesture-control field that will include Microsoft, Leap Motion, and - who knows - maybe Apple? Check out the video below and decide for yourself.