Hands On With The Production Version Of The Myo Gesture Control Armband

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Thalmic Labs is a Waterloo-based startup with a very ambitious goal – to change the way we interact with our everyday computing devices. To that end, they’ve developed the Myo armband, a gesture control device that fits around the meaty part of your forearm and detects slight muscle movements, arm rotations and even electrical impulses as you gesture, translating all that information into real-time input.

We were lucky enough to get one of the first hands-on demos of the new version of the Myo, which is set to begin to start shipping to developers shortly, and to pre-order customers this fall. Thalmic CEO and co-founder Stephen Lake also takes us through the process of building a hardware startup, and shipping that startup’s crucial first product. The hardware design is final, and though there are a few bugs still be worked out (you can see a couple in the video above), the Myo is just about ready for prime time.

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What’s interesting about Myo and Thalmic is how much talent they’ve brought in-house to tackle building and distributing their device – their expansive Waterloo office is nearly full and already expanding to a second level, and they house everyone from machine learning engineers to execs to logistics personnel in the same open floor plan, with only free-form breakout rooms offering any doors or walls.

Thalmic believes in doing everything as a team, clearly, and that includes doing its own sourcing of component suppliers and assembly partners, and even doing final assembly for the developer pre-order units in-house on site, with consumer launch being handled by a company in nearby Ottawa. As production volume increases, Lake says they’ll consider adding oversees partners, but for now this is very much a homegrown affair. Hopefully the final product reflects the consideration put into its design and construction.