Minority Report interface gets a step closer with Myo armband and Skylight

Mobile By Russell Holly Aug. 19, 2014 9:00 am

Tech companies are just starting to scratch the surface of wearable tech, and for the most part we aren’t yet comfortable using things like smart glasses on a daily basis. That doesn’t mean there aren’t incredibly cool things that can be done with this hardware, it just means the people willing to jump headfirst into this experience are learning as they go.

Today, the teams at APX Labs and Thalmic Labs have announced a collaborative effort that resulted in a huge step forward in wearable technology for businesses all over the world.

When you think about the mechanic looking under the hood of your car, the engineer diagnosing what’s wrong with a piece of machinery in a factory, or the road crew foreman leading a team to repair that street near your house, they all have one important thing in common: you won’t see them wearing something like Google Glass or Epson’s Moverio glasses.

It’s not that the hardware is expensive, or software beneficial to their jobs doesn’t exist, it’s that the tech doesn’t work particularly well in these environments. Whether it’s heavy work gloves, oil covered hands, or just too much noise for voice commands to be useful, the wearable tech of today in stock form isn’t good enough. With Skylight and Myo, the folks at APC and Thalmic think they have fixed the problem.

Our first brush with Skylight at Google I/O two years ago revealed an impressive piece of technology that allowed users to navigate a UI based entirely on head gestures and augmented reality cues. It’s cool if you are in a controlled environment, but once you leave that space there are bound to be problems. Myo, however, is an armband that allows users to control just about anything by measuring the movements made by your arm and hand.

Through Myo, Skylight is able to become a UI that can be used anywhere. Users can flick their wrist and stretch their arm out and gain access to the information on the wearable computer strapped to their heads, effectively removing the limitations messy or covered hands present.

While the armband doesn’t do much yet for regular users, this kind of innovation puts the next generation of wearable tech into perspective. In a recent conversation with Brian Ballard of APX Labs, he explained that the low power requirements and high accuracy in basic gestures within Myo made it significantly easier to use for extended periods of time. It means having another piece of tech on our bodies, but future iterations of this same setup could be something as simple as a bracelet paired with regular looking glasses and a few shakes of the wrist for input.

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