It’s the stuff of futuristic movies -- controlling actions on your computers and devices using hand gestures. We’re partially there, with Microsoft’s Kinect sensor, allowing you to swipe your hands to control functions on your Xbox gaming console.
Myo wanted to take it a step further, and they did -- but it’s probably not something you will want to run out and buy just yet.
Myo is different than the sensors the Kinect relies on because it doesn’t use a camera to monitor your gestures. You wear it on your wrist, and it senses your gestures. Seems pretty cool -- but you just might find it frustrating for a time, until you get the gestures down just right.
It’s not the most appealing device in terms of looks. You wear it high on your forearm, near your elbow. It is a series of eight black rectangles connected with flexible rubber, and contained inside each rectangle is a stainless steel electromyography (EMG) sensor. The company refers to them as medical grade sensors, and each one picks up and deciphers electrical impulses in your muscles. Also included with these high-tech sensors are a three-axis accelerometer, three-axis gyroscope, and three-axis magnetometer.
If you wear it a lot, it can leave an imprint on your forearm. If this becomes bothersome, just adjust it with the 10 included sizing clips until it fits you comfortably. It can last an entire day if used continuously, or a week in standby mode, and is charged with a typical Micro-USB cable.
As previously stated, you won’t be able to take it out of the box and use it right away. You’ll begin by downloading the associated software, with the added bonus of videos to help guide you through the setup process and begin using your Myo. Also included in the box: a Bluetooth adapter so that your armband can connect via Bluetooth to your computer.
Once you make it through the setup process, the real work begins. You’ll start off with the five basic gestures (spread your fingers, double-tap, wave right, wave left, and make a fist), and assign them to different tasks on your computer. To zoom, it gets a bit tricky as it combines gestures -- you need to make a fist and turn it clockwise.
You might also find that no matter how hard you’re trying, you just can’t seem to get it to recognize your hand movements. While it can be quite frustrating, you are able to manually calibrate the device in order to make it a bit more responsive. Even if it’s very responsive, it’s going to take you quite a bit of time not only to learn the gestures for each action, but to memorize them as well. As you’ll see through the process of learning all of the gestures, there are many more than those five basic gestures.
While it’s great for certain things (it’s works well for presentations), other applications just don’t play well with it. There are, however, over 100 apps designed to work with Myo wonderfully. Gamers will love the app that simulates flying a drone using hand gestures, and those who rely on their GoPro can control video using gestures.
For about $200, most won’t find any value in the Myo. The technology is pretty cool, but it’s very likely you’ll end up throwing it across the room in frustration. You’ll be much less frustrated controlling your computer the old fashioned way.