Myo armband uses muscle twitches for gesture control

Tech armband turns electrical activity in muscles into gesture control – no cameras required

Forget gesture recognition cameras à la the Kinect, or mind reading devices bristling with wires – the sleek Myo armband developed by Canadian company Thalmic Labs translates muscle movements into electronic commands.

It works using an array of electrodes which, unlike most medical electrodes, can detect activity without direct skin contact. At present the system can recognise around 20 separate gestures, while effectively ignoring normal body movements. The gesture recognition is based on a combination of muscle activity and motion – the makers claim that it's even sensitive enough to detect individual finger movements.

The first batch of the Myo gesture control armband will cost US$149 and is expected to ship late this year. It will be bundled with software for Windows and Mac users to enable gestures to replace those used on touchscreens for scrolling and zooming. APIs that open up the device for use with Android and iOS apps are in the works, too.

The Myo runs on a – wait for it – ARM processor with a six-axis 'inertial measurement unit' (read 'accelerometers'). It's one-size-fits-all, and connects via Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy powered by rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries. 

Pre-orders are being accepted at getmyo.com now.

[Thalmic Labs via New Scientist]

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