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Myo: The world’s first gesture-controlled prosthetic arm [video]

The amazing guys at The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory have been working to create not just any prosthetic, but one that the user can actually control with their minds once again. The result is Myo and the video (below) shows how Johnny Matheny, who lost his forearm due to cancer, is now able to control a prosthetic hand with gestures. The Myo armband has electromyography (EMG) sensors that directly sense muscle activity and motion, allowing it to read the activity of Johnny’s muscles in a refined way.

Johnny has been working with a prosthetic arm attached directly to his skeleton, and uses two Myo armbands on his upper arm. The Myos are used to read EMG signals on Johnny’s arm, which are then sent to a controlling computer. The computer analyses the signals to determine what motion he is trying to make, then sends the results of the analysis back to the prosthetic arm.

The Myo armband is the first gesture-control technology of its kind. Instead of relying on cameras or voice control, the Myo armband measures electrical activity in your muscles, giving you the ability to wirelessly control and interact with computers and other digital consumer products around you using simple, natural movements. The device also has a highly sensitive 9-axis motion sensor to detect all of the motions and rotations of your forearm.

MYO armbandStephen Lake, Co-founder and CEO of Thalmic Labs said: “If Johnny’s case shows it is possible to directly turn thoughts into actions, then the future of human-computer interaction can achieve a new reality. While each person’s arm and mind may be different, this is an incredible example of how scientists, developers and engineers around the world have transformed lives using the Myo armband. That is why we have opened the SDK to third party developers to continue expanding applications users are interested in”.

The state-of-the-art industrial design is a thin, expandable band, worn on the upper forearm. Weighing in at less than 95 grams, the Myo armband weighs less than the average male wrist watch. The device requires direct contact with the skin, so the design allows the user to wear it comfortably under clothing, all day long.

If you (or someone you know) would be interested in trying Myo out, then you can pick it up for around £175 on Amazon!


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