MYO, the gesture control armband from Y Combinator-backed Waterloo startup Thalmic Labs, has managed to rack up over 10,000 pre-orders over the course of its first two days of pre-order availability. At $149 a pop, that means the young company has already managed to secure around $1.5 million in gross revenue, so long as they actually ship hardware.
The MYO, as Ryan pointed out on Monday, is a wearable control device for smartphones, PCs and other electronics that uses lower-power Bluetooth 4.0 to connect, which also has a boatload of sensors on board to help it detect electrical activity in arm and hand muscles to detect movements at the earliest possible stage. It’s the latest in a series of devices trying to make sci-fi type interfaces a reality, and could be among the most accurate yet.
Thalmic Labs co-founder and CEO Stephen Lake explained in an interview that while the team expected some kind of response to its launch, there was no way they could have anticipated quite this level of interest.
“I think we knew that there was going to be a lot of people interested in the technology, since it’s such a cool technology, and there are so many good potential applications for it,” he said. “We’re not completely surprised, but the amount of attention it’s got is more than anyone could’ve expected.”
Lake had some ideas about why people are so interested in traditional modes of interaction for computers. He said he believes people are looking around for something different, and that MYO is a case of the “right technology at the right time.”
“There’s a lot happening right now with the form factor and how we’re connected to technology,” he said. “A lot of the technology that’s coming out, and Google Glass is a perfect example in the realm of wearable technology, is really going to change not just how we input information into the computer, but just how we interact with technology, and make our devices an extension of ourselves instead of an outside thing you’re interacting with.”
The interest from consumers eager to try out the MYO has likewise attracted a lot of interest from distributors and retail partners, Lake said. His inbox has been flooded with “thousands” of emails from companies wanting to be a distribution partner for MYO all over the world. He wasn’t at liberty to share any details on early stage discussions at this point, but it seems reasonable to expect the MYO will get a splashy launch when it’s ready to come to market.
Developer interest has also grown by leaps and bounds thanks to the initial response from buyers and media, Lake said. Building out that community is key, just as it is for other innovative input and interaction hardware like the Leap Motion Controller, and Lake says Thalmic will have a dedicated developer website with support forums and more information up and running as soon as possible to help deal with the influx of attention.