Thalmic Labs working on wearable remote control

The MYO armband reads muscle movement and sends the data via Bluetooth to control computers, smartphones, or almost any digital device.

Dara Kerr
Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
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Thalmic Labs' MYO armband reads muscle movement to control digital devices. Thalmic Labs

With watches, glasses, and clothing that can double as tech devices, it seems like wearable inventions are only going to continue to proliferate.

How about wearable technology that can read a person's muscle movement and then use that data to control other devices?

This is something that Thalmic Labs has been working on for the past year. The company explained the project in detail in a video released Wednesday.

Dubbed the MYO, this one-size-fits-all armband is a remote control of sorts. When worn on the body, it instantaneously reads the electrical activity of the muscles to track the movement of hands or fingers. This information then is sent wirelessly via Bluetooth to control a computer, smartphone, or almost any digital device.

"For the MYO, we are solving that fundamental question of how we can connect the real and the digital worlds, enabling us to actually do new things that weren't previously possible," Thalmic Labs co-founder and CEO Stephen Lake said in the video released Wednesday.

The company says the armband is extremely light and feels like it's almost not there. It's stretchable and apparently isn't impeded by arm hair. According to Thalmic Labs, the MYO works right out of the box and is compatible with Windows and Mac OS. Reportedly, application programming interfaces for iOS and Android will be available.

While the idea of controlling devices with a wave of the hand or a twist of the wrist is novel, it seems like there's plenty of room for accidental interpretation. As a way to abate some of this, Thalmic Labs did include an "on/off" gesture for devices, which shouldn't occur with natural hand movements.

The MYO costs $149 a pop and Thalmic Labs says it plans to have its first shipment of 25,000 MYO devices in people's hands by late this year. It's accepting pre-orders for a second shipment for early 2014.

Via GigaOM.