Who hasn’t been between a rock and hard place and tried to unleash their inner Jedi? While our own dilemmas may not be as dire as being hung upside down in a Wampa’s ice cave on the frozen planet Hoth, still, tapping into The Force would be a dream come true for many of us.
Well, thanks to Canadian startup Thalmic Labs, you’ll soon be able to begin your Jedi training with Myo, an armband that lets you control everything from drones to computers just by moving your forearm muscles. Even better, you don’t have to make the long trek out to the Dagobah system and crash land your X-wing into a swamp to learn how.
Stephen Lake, co-founder of Thalmic Labs, and his team embedded electrodes in Myo that read electrical activity in the wearer’s muscles as they flex and relax to make gestures. That info is transmitted wirelessly via software that translates those gestures into commands.
Unlike medical electrodes, Myo’s don’t make direct contact with the skin, so there’s no sticky application necessary. Just slip on Myo like you would a wrist band before you play tennis and start gesticulating. This introductory model can recognize 20 gestures, even the subtleties of a finger tap. It will also recognize the gestures we commonly use on touchscreens, such as the pinch to zoom in and the vertical swipe to scroll up and down a page. Good news for you with restless leg syndrome, Myo is programmed to ignore random noise produced from other body movements.
“We really have this belief that technology can be used to enhance our abilities,” Lake told New Scientist. “This is a way of using natural actions that we’ve evolved to intuitively control the digital world.”
At $149 a pop, Myo is expected to ship later this year and be compatible with with both Windows and Apple products.
And, uh, you guys at Thalmic Labs, how about the slogan “Myo the force be with you” for your device’s tag line? However, good luck trying to wrestle that permission from George Lucas Disney.
Credit: Thalmic Labs