Oculus Rift And Thalmic’s Myo Armband Are A Match Made In Heaven, Say Founders And Investors

Total video game immersion might not be as far away as you think: The Oculus Rift is a huge step in the right direction, and it may have an optimal bedfellow in Thalmic’s Myo armband, the gesture control wearable that picks up on electrical impulses from your arm to deliver fine-tuned control over connected devices. While the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset can track head movements, and even now sense when you move forward or pull back, it still requires that you use a physical controller in most cases, which tends to dampen the realism to a degree. You’re not actually going to reach for that ladder run when climbing in-game, for instance, or grip that stock when you’re taking aim with your assault rifle. Oculus Rift and Myo are such a natural fit that it hasn’t escaped the notice of its investors. Spark Capital has a stake in both companies, and that’s no coincidence: A source close to the firm tells me that they considered the possible cross-device potential when they made their investment in each company, both of which were announced in June last year. Myo is marketing its devices as a much more broadly focused input mechanism, but the gaming segment is the fatted pig ready for market for investors, we’re told. The Oculus/Myo team-up isn’t just speculative, either. An email from Myo founder and CEO Stephen Lake confirms that indeed, development efforts are underway to link up the two pieces of hardware. “There are projects using both Myo + Rift,” he explained via email. “For example, there are developers in our Alpha program integrating both with Unity for various games. I think it’s a badass use case.”

For Oculus Rift, the key to success appears to depend at least in part on the headset’s ability to provide a convincing simulation of reality. Disconnects between what users are seeing in-game what they think they should be able to do in terms of character control and in-world interaction. For Myo, the big hurdle will be demonstrating a focused consumer use case that appeals to a big enough segment of the consumer market. In other words, Myo hooking up with the Rift is like chocolate meeting peanut butter, and it’ll be interesting to see how deep that relationship eventually goes.