It seems very likely that gesture-based devices like the Kinect will play increasingly larger roles in our lives in the near future, but what’s not clear yet is which underlying technology will be king. Camera-based gesture devices are big now, but Thalmic Labs wants to shake things up with its new MYO armband, which reads the electrical activity of your muscles to capture gestures. It then wirelessly transmits those signals to your computer, letting you perform tasks that you might ordinarily use a mouse or other input device for.
If you’re picturing yourself waving wildly, think again. The armband monitors your muscle movements, not the motion of your arm. The result is that you can make gestures with your fingers and hands that are picked up by the armband. It’s a device that you can wear regularly, even if you’re not using it, and then enable it with a specific gesture when the armband is needed. The MYO has built-in rechargeable batteries and will use Bluetooth 4.0 to communicate with your devices and computers.
The MYO hasn’t hit the market yet, but Thalmic Labs expects it to before the end of the year, and it’s already taking preorders for (what it says is a limited initial number of) the armbands. Interestingly, you’ll only pay $149 for the MYO, which supports PCs and Macs, among other devices. And Thalmic is already wooing developers and touting its upcoming API kit, so expect this thing to have some really interesting uses soon. Google Glass, gaming headsets, armbands – wearable technology is starting to get really cool.