Thalmic's Myo Armband Will Let You Pilot Any Robot You Desire
Thalmic labs may well have just invented the next step in gesture control. Say hello to the Thalmic Myo armband, a device which - when properly configured - can allow you to apply gesture control to pretty much anything. This includes toys, computers, consumer electronics, video games, and even military-grade robots. I already know what you're all thinking: could this tech be used in the development of massive, piloted robots, similar to the Jaegers of Pacific Rim or the mechas in at least 75% of anime?
Honestly? I think it actually could. The applications for technology such as this expand far beyond remote-controlled cars or high-tech business presentations; it's perfectly capable of controlling a robot, no matter the shape or size. Factor in that - because of how the armband functions - it allows for a virtually unprecedented range of different gestures and motions, and, well...
You'll have to forgive me if I feel the need to geek out just a little.
The armband functions by tracking the electrical activity from a user's muscles in order to determine what sort of gesture their hand is making. It's also equipped with sensors to monitor the motion and rotation of both the user's hand and forearm. The one-size-fits-all device works with Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, connecting to other systems via a Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy Connection. It also features haptic feedback, presumably to let you know that a gesture's been registered by your device. The battery's still being optimized, but they're shooting for a multi-day usage.
Oh, certain applications will also allow the use of multiple Myos.
Clearpath Robotics decided to demonstrate just what the armband is capable of, taking it for a test run with their Husky Unmanned Vehicle. After mapping the Myo to the robot's controls, the operator was able to make it go forward, reverse, turn left and right, change velocity, and brake with a few simple hand motions. Watch the video above and tell me you aren't at least a little bit excited. And terrified. Let's be honest here, who wants to see fifty-foot-tall combat robots rampaging through our cities?
Don't answer that.
Granted, adapting this tech to a larger, more complicated device like a fully-functional robot arm might require a fair bit of software wizardry, but the technology is there, folks. I refuse to believe it isn't. You can find out more about the Myo armband or order one for yourself here. It retails for around $150.00....which isn't actually that high of a price when you consider all the stuff you can do with it.