Use the Force… that is exactly what I wanted to do when I got my hands on the Myo Gesture Control Armband by Thalmic Labs. Use the Force, I did. I admit, I was a bit skeptical of this when I saw the promo material, as most people would be.
As it happens, that skepticism was by and large not necessary. First things first, if you have not seen the promo material, skip over to Thalmic’s website and take a look.
Now, I have not tried gaming with this thing, but I would love to give it a shot. What I have done is used it in my classroom and in my presentations at conferences. Teachers and presenters alike could benefit from use of this tool.
In the box you get the armband, a USB receiver, some sizing clips, a charge/sync cable, and a note telling you to download the latest software from Myo. Set up is rather easy. Once you get the software installed there are video clips showing you the basic movements to control your device. Some of the movements do take a little practice to get just right, but they are not difficult at all. I found that my armband often confused a closed fist with an open hand. The solution, for me, was to open my hand to a point where my fingers were arching backwards to make it recognize an open hand. Other than that, there have not really been any issues with the basic controls.
The Myo does a pretty good job of controlling your computer/device. It was rare that something funky happened where my presentation moved along when it was not intended… but it did happen from time to time. I tend to talk with my hands, and apparently I somehow ‘unlock’ the armband with my gestures while speaking. It’s a rare occurrence, but it is there. There is no doubt it takes some getting used to, but it is very much worth the learning curve.
I have a large forearm, and to be honest, the armband is a little tighter than I would prefer. I do have a really cool pattern on my skin when I take it off. I wonder if it being so tight is part of the cause of the confusion between open hand and closed fist.
Thalmic Labs does a wonderful job of keeping the software updated. I have seen several updates, and every time, I have found it to be a positive experience. There are plug ins you can install to control various tools, such as YouTube. Installing and using these is a simple matter of clicking the icon as shown below (mac) and heading to the Myo Market. Everything you need is right there. Oh, I happened to notice while writing this, there is a Fruit Ninja game there now… not so sure about the educational value, but you never know…. 🙂
I have used my Myo armband for several months, and it has held up well. It holds a charge for an entire day of use. As far as durability goes, I give it solid marks.
Overall, I am very pleased with my Myo armband. It frees me to wander the room and still remain in control of my presentation, not to mention the overall coolness factor of feeling like I am using the Force. For $200, I certainly suggest giving this little guy a go.
Myo image property of Thalmic Labs.