Point and Shoot: Myo Turns Hand Into Game Controller

SAN FRANCISCO — What if shooting a target in a video game was as simple as pointing your finger? The Myo is a connected armband developed by Thalmic Labs that can sense not only your arm's position, but also your hand gestures.

Developer kits for this innovative gadget are currently available for $149, and will ship in a few months. According to Thalmic Labs, consumer-focused devices will be available soon after that.

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The Myo can be used for more than just gaming. At the Game Developers Conference here, Scott Greenberg of Thalmic Labs demonstrated how one could control various apps on an iPad by moving one's hand to the left or right.

Greenberg ran through slides of a PowerPoint presentation and then, with just a snap of his finger, switched to a music-playing app.

The Myo sits on one's arm just below the elbow and connects to mobile devices via Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy. Scanners and an onboard gyroscope built into the Myo monitor your arm muscles and can tell when you've bent your wrist, spread your fingers, snapped your fingers or performed a number of other gestures.

Greenberg also demonstrated a first-person video game developed for Myo in which players find themselves in a tunnel comprised of tiles with letters on them. Players move through the tunnel and select tiles to form words by moving their Myo-equipped arm. 

Myo also has a mobile app that interfaces with the Sphero, a sphere-shaped robot that can be steered via smartphones. Unfortunately, we weren't able to test Myo ourselves, as Thalmic Labs wasn't letting anyone else wear the device. 

As with all hardware, the success of Myo depends on its apps. Thalmic Labs didn't disclose its list of Myo-compatible games, but once the software-development kit gets out in the open, we're looking forward to seeing what game designers and other app developers come up with.

Email jscharr@techmedianetwork.com or follow her @JillScharr and Google+. Follow us @TomsGuide, on Facebook and on Google+.

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  • rwinches
    Seems there might be many other uses other than games.
  • Pgooch
    couple of these, oculus rift, and im good to go
  • Cali Dude
    Could it be used to turn sign language into the spoken word?Nah; that would actually be beneficial to society.