The wearable category is the new rage in tech, and I have found the wearable I love. The pictures in the first part of this post are of my Myo. This is a device I have wanted ever since I saw it in Leslie Fisher's gadget presentation two years. It's been a device I have had to wait for. I saw it two years ago, but I did not bite the bullet on the purchase until September of 2014. Even then, I still had to wait because the device was still on pre-order status. In the two years since I had first seen it, the team at Thalmic labs in Canada had taken the device back to the drawing board in order to redesign the overall look and feel of it. I think what came out of that process may be a game changer.
At its core, the Myo is a gesture control arm band. It works y reading the electrical pulses that come from your muscles in your forearm as you make ceartin gestures. It then converts those readings to digital commands for a variety of devices. Each gesture you make tells the device to perform a certain action based on the software or app you have open. All of this works through a bluetooth connection which really gives the device infinite possibilities
Where this device is really a game changer is the fact that it works with so many devices. Right out of the box you can connect the device to a PC, Mac, IOS Device, or Android Device. The company also promises the ability to control things like Sphero, AR Drones, Home Automation, and based on the video below gaming systems such as Xbox and Playstation. I have not seen any wearable that even comes close to having that ability across devices.
The other thing that is mind blowing are the possibilities that come with it. Right out of the box, the device gives you gesture control over Keynote, Power Point, Prezi, Itunes, Spotify, VLC, and Adobe Reader. You can then add a variety of other apps and controls through their Myo Market. I am so excited to see what they come out with next. My mind races with the possibilities here. This is the device that makes me wish I knew how to code so I could make some of these ideas come to life.
Well, now to talk about my week with the device. I got the device on Monday right before I left for the MECA conference in Mississippi. Yes, I hunted the mailman down to get it. I wanted to use it in my presentations, and MECA proved to be a great way to learn the ins and outs of the device. I set it up the night before, and I thought I would be good to go. Let's just the first two did not go as planned. In the end, I had to abandon the device for those presentations.
I then had a break in the middle of the day. That time was invaluable, as I really got to learn the ends and outs of the device. Myo has a learning curve so if you decide this device is something for you, you defintly need to be aware of that. Don't be like the people on their Twitter account and Forums that have expressed their frustration and have given up.
The first thing you need to figure out with the device is the sweet spot on your arm. The device has sensors that need to read the muscle activity so finding the best place for that is key. Once you feel like you are there, don't take the device off. One of my biggest issues was that I got frustrated by it not having the correct gestures and I kept trying to re-adjust. After wearing the device for a while, I began to figure out that it seemed to read better in the afternoon. My first thought was that part of that was the natural retention of water which caused a better fit around my forearm. I soon discovered it really gets to the fact Myo needs to time to warm up. When, you really think about it this makes since for a device that is built on sensors to pick up muscle activity. So again, once you feel like you have the right spot, be patient and don't constantly adjust the device.
The other thing you have to learn fairly quickly is to be aware of the devices vibrations. This is honestly a place where I think Thalmic needs to improve their messaging. The device has different vibrations for its unlock feature, lock feature, and when you are making gestures. If you try to make a gesture to quickly before the unlock vibration ends, the device won't perform the task. It also lets you perform multiple gestures when it is unlocked so you also need to be aware of when the device locks so you can unlock it again.
While we are talking about the lock and unlock, this is the place where the device really needs some improvement. The device simply unlocks to easily. This makes it difficult to do something like listen to your music while doing other task because the device is falsely reading gestures. Based on the companies comments on Social Media, I think this is something they are aware of and working on. Once they figure out the most natural course of action, I am sure this is something that can be easily adjusted through a firm wear update. My thought is that a quick and easy fix would be switching the unlock gesture with the fingers pread play gesture. The thumb to middle finger tap to me is a more natural gesture to replicate as you multitask then the fingers spread gesture is.
So after I finally figured out the learning curve, I was able to use it during the rest of my presentations in Mississippi. For the most part, every presentation went well. It was an amazing seeing the confused looks in the crowd when I was moving my keynote around with hand gestures. I had to stop a few times and explain the ins and outs of the Myo. I also had people stop me as I was walking around the conference and ask to see it. I also added the mouse control app towards the end of the conference which let me run a Kahoot quiz from the crowd hands free. Let's just say I think a may have sold a few for Thalmic that day.
The only issue I came across is in when one of the presentations the device kept un-synching. After working with the device and reading some of the responses in the forum, I think that can be attributed to the set up I had. I had several devices going at the same time, and there was interference. Really, when you are running a presentation with several devices, it is best to be on the side of the bluetooth adapter so it can get the best bluetooth connection.n the
ow. Outside of the Mississippi conference, I wore the device while I was traveling all week. I used it to control my music as I walked to and from the conference center. I also used it on the drive home to control my music. I have an IOS device, and I also have music ADHD. I am the type of person who constantly skips songs to find the right fit for the time, and the Myo allowed me to do that with ease. It was great on the drive home as it actually improved my safety through allowing me to 'control music without looking at my phone.
I can say with all honesty, I wear the device every day. I actually have it on right now. I feel like the music controls and computer shortcuts justify its use, and they honestly improve my productivity. Along with music controls, my favorite control right now is the ability it gives me to refresh browser pages and swith pages easily.
Since this is an education blog, lets talk about its use in education before we wrap this up. First, I think this is a tool that centers