The Oculus Rift headset is doing its best to draw players into the virtual realities it hosts, but traditional or motion-assisted controllers are typically used to interact with these virtual worlds. Thelmic Labs has a different vision for player interaction however - rather than tracking the positioning of a controller in 3D space, Thelmic's Myo armbands build virtual representations of a player's hands and forearms.
According to Thelmic's FAQ page, Myo works by measuring the "electrical activity from your muscles to detect what gesture your hand is making." The armbands use a Bluetooth 4.0 connection to communicate with Windows, Mac, Android or iOS devices. Thelmic lists the beginning shipments of Myo development kits for the "first half of 2014," with the consumer version shipping shortly after that. Both are priced at $149. Potential developers that don't want to wait around for Thelmic's wider distribution shipments can apply to join the Thelmic Alpha Developers, a group that will gain access to pre-production Myo hardware.
While a cool concept doesn't promise future developer support for the hardware, it's pretty neat to imagine casting in-game spells with nothing but hand gestures. Besides, whatever amount of gesture functionality the Myo achieves can't possibly dip below the bar that Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor set on the Kinect, right?