The Force at your Hands

A few weeks ago we presented you the Thinkook, an EEG based cooking aid, that allows to control a computer with your thoughts, while you are using both hands for cooking. But since the Emotiv Epoc EEG helmet needs time to fine tune the sensors, we were looking for simpler solution. We then came across Myo, a gesture control armband.


Myo is a gesture control armband, that uses the electromyography (EMG) technology to read electrical signals from the muscles in your forearm to map them to gestures made with your arm. Additionally, a three-axis gyroscope, a three-axis accelerometer and a three-axis magnetometer sense motion in any direction. The muscle and motion activities are handled by an on-board processor (ARM Cortex M4) and sent to your device over Bluetooth. The rechargeable battery is claimed to last at least one day. The Myo can be connected to almost any Windows/Mac/iOS/Android based device supporting Bluetooth 4.0 LE, including the Google Glass.


The design resembles a wide bracelet that fits about every size of forearm thanks to the stretchy bands.  The Myo only weighs 93 grams and hence doesn’t hinder your arm movement. Moreover, you wont look stupid wearing the armband, as it is the case for the Emotiv Epoc helmet.

Setup and Calibration

Setting up and calibrating Myo is quite straightforward and guided by videos and desktop notifications.


Calibration gesture

Myo Market and Open API

Apart from controlling the mouse and the keyboard, the Myo marketplace offers a sizable amount of apps and plugins. You can download integrations for all kind of programs, games and utilities, even for controlling the Sphero robot or Parrot drones. And the market is growing rapidly due to the open API and the free SDK. Anyone can hence create an app or a plugin for the Myo. In addition to the small predefined set of gestures, you can define your own gestures using the SDK. Thalmic, the manufacturer of Myo, doesn’t really place any limits on how the armband can be used or what it can be used for.

Bildschirmfoto 2016-07-24 um 23.09.10

The Myo marketplace

Predefined set of gestures

Predefined set of gestures

Use cases in the ICT-WG

We started testing the Myo one week ago and have not been able yet to setup a specific smart home use-case. But one of the idea is to control the beamer, we have shown in the Thinkook video, and the Sonos in the kitchen with this armband. This set-up would be an alternative solution to the Thinkook.

While testing the Myo, we realized that the gesture recognition doesn’t always work perfectly. Sometimes gestures are matched falsely and therefore the armband needs to be recalibrated. This is due to the fact that it is hardly possible to wear the armband on the same spot every time. But when it is recalibrated, it works like a dream. We have tested various apps and plugins and there are a lot of practical ones among them. This shows that the Myo is not only a gadget, but can also be used for serious applications.