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Hands on with Thalmic Labs' Myo gesture control armband

Al Sacco | June 16, 2015
Today's world of wearable technology is packed with gimmicky gizmos designed to grab eyeballs and then quietly fade into cyberspace. Companies such as Thalmic Labs are working to cut through the noise and develop useful, innovative gadgets that demonstrate the promise of wearables to consumers and enterprises.

Finally, Myo costs $199, which is a bit pricey for what is basically a newfangled presenter tool with a built-in laser pointer.

To sum that all up ....

Thalmic Myo review: Conclusion

New input methods will play an important role in the evolution of wearable technology because traditional keyboard and touch-screen based input systems just don't work well with certain types of gadgets, including smartglasses and smartwatches.

I appreciate the concept behind Myo. The band itself is durable, well-designed and reasonably fashionable. After you find or create a calibration profile that works for you, it usually recognizes the basic gesture controls, and its multi-color LED clearly displays simple connection and battery status information. 

That said, it is difficult for me to recommend Myo at this point, because it simply doesn't do all that much. It's also finicky; it sometimes won't work at all; it doesn't always recognize basic gestures, it often reads other normal movements as gesture commands, and the laser-pointer feature occasionally moves in the opposite direction than it should.

For Myo to be effective as a presentation tool, it needs to be super simple — stupid simple. If it draws even a little bit of the presenter's attention away from the task at hand, it lessens that person's effectiveness and disconnects them from their audience. Myo is just not reliable enough for me to want to use it in a high-pressure presentation situation.

Also, let's be honest, it's really not all that hard to use a clicker tool with a built-in laser pointer during presentations, and $200 is on the pricey side.

Myo is still a new, relatively unpolished device, and though it's largely focused on presentation controls and simple gesture commands for popular applications today, gestures could be one of the next big input systems of the future. So while Myo's current value is limited, it could become an indispensable hands-free tool in the future.

You can learn more about the Myo gesture control armband on Thalmic Labs' website.

 

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