Mobility

Myo armband makes smartglasses hands free

Thalmic Labs announced a partnership with four companies to integrate Myo, a gesture-control armband, with smartglasses.

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The Myo armband allows for gesture-controlled use of smartglasses.
Image: Thalmic Labs

Four new partnerships will soon allow users of Google Glass, Recon Jet and Epson Moverio to pair these devices with the Myo gesture-control armband to make them completely hands free.

Canadian-based startup Thalmic Labs, which created the Myo armband, announced partnerships today with APX Labs, Bridgit, Augmedix and Recon Instruments. The industry partnerships are designed to create innovative enterprise applications for smartglasses:

  • Augmedix uses Google Glass so that physicians can use smartglasses to access patienet information. With the Myo armband, physicians will be able to move through patient information with the swipe of a hand.
  • APX Labs builds software for Epson Movario and Google Glass for enterprise customers including those in the energy industry and the US military.
  • Closeout by Bridgit is a deficiency management software suite that tracks and communicates construction site deficiencies.
  • Recon Instruments offers the Recon Jet heads-up display smartglass, popular with cyclist and skiers. Integrating Jet with the Myo armband will give sports enthusiasts hands-free control of their smartglasses.

"Smartglasses remove barriers to accessing the information and communications needed to effectively and efficiently perform the job at hand. Now, the Myo armband frees up your hands to unlock the full value of smartglasses," said Stephen Lake, CEO and co-founder of Thalmic Labs, in a press release. "The Myo armband uses subtle hand gestures to instantly interact with applications on smartglasses, without needing to remove gloves or pull out a secondary controller."

Myo uses APX Labs' Skylight software platform to provide users with a hands-free solution for accessing information and applications. This is ideal for enterprise customers as well as consumers. Myo works by allowing the smartglasses to be controlled with subtle hand, finger and arm gestures, eliminating the need for remote controls, touch pads and buttons.

For instance, a worker in the energy industry at a remote location might be wearing heavy gloves, or have oil on their hands, and they can opt for hands-free gestures to control their smartglasses instead of relying upon sensory touch. This also works for field service workers in noisy environments that drown out voice commands. Workers in sterile environments can benefit by using gestures instead of risking contamination on their hands.

Brian Ballard, CEO of APX Labs, said that this answers the hands-free use of smartglasses that his enterprise customers have been requesting. "Particularly with the military because they have gloves on their hands. You have to have an alternative form of input than touch sensory," Ballard said.

"Having a very low power reliable source of power that is, frankly, very affordable, is a big game changer for us. It's just now entering general release. With Myo coming onto the market that's answering a lot of questions there's been demand for," Ballard said.

Myo developer kits began shipping in July and the actual device can be pre-ordered for $149 and will be available for retail sale later this fall, with pre-orders going out in late September or early October, said Scott Greenberg, director of developer relations for Thalmic Labs.

Greenberg said he sees multiple uses for consumers and business customers. As for Thalmic Labs, the company was founded two years ago and immediately began developing the Myo armband, Greenberg said.

Ballard said that the partnership with Thalmic Labs also shows the enterprise that there is broad support for end use cases with smartglasses, giving more confidence to customers. Ballard said APX Labs noticed this effect when Google announced in June that APX Labs was one of its Glass at Work Certified Partners, as reported in TechRepublic.

About

Teena Maddox is a Senior Writer at TechRepublic, covering hardware devices, IoT, smart cities and wearables. With a background in fashion writing at People and W magazines and WWD, she ties together the style and substance of tech.

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