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Myo gesture-control armband uses muscle power

The Myo gesture-control armband is looking to consign camera-based gesture recognition to the history books.

Myo armband
The Myo armband uses your muscles for gesture control. Thalmic Labs

From "Minority Report" to the Kinect, we've been on a tech quest for touchless gesture control that frees us from the shackles of mice and old-style controllers. We want to get in on the action and use movement to command our digital devices.

Myo from Thalmic Labs takes that gesture-control desire and builds it into an armband you wear on your forearm.

Myo armbands
The Myo is available for pre-order. (Click to enlarge.) Myo

The Myo uses a combination of motion sensors and muscle activity sensors to track gestures. When you snap your fingers, wave your hand, or point your finger, it translates that movement into a gesture based on the muscles used. An ARM processor and rechargeable batteries power the armband, which communicates with devices using Bluetooth low energy.

The Myo team suggests using the armband to "unleash your inner Jedi," an enormously appealing idea. It could potentially be used to not only control your computer, but also to fly quadrocopters, interface with iOS and Android, and play video games. The potential is limited only by what developers can create.

The armband will work from the get-go with Mac and PC computers, enabling control of popular activities like Web browsing, media content, and watching videos. I, for one, am eager to see the gaming abilities showcased.

The Myo can be preordered for $149 and is expected to ship in late 2013. Its success may well depend on the number of applications it will work with.

Details on the device are still pretty thin, but a promotional video shows the direction Thalmic Labs is taking. What do you think? Is this a more appealing technology than existing options like the camera-based Kinect?

Now playing: Watch this: Control your computer from afar with Myo armband

(Via Reddit)