Muscle-sensing Myo gesture armband will be on Amazon this quarter

About a year after getting our first taste of the Myo, Thalmic Labs has announced that it's reaching out to the masses by way of Amazon this quarter. As with its pre-order on the company's website, this muscle-sensing gesture control armband will be available for $199. But even before that, Thalmic Labs has already sold 50,000 pre-orders (with about half of them shipped to buyers so far), which is a nice nod of approval to some of the use case examples showed off by Thalmic Labs and its several partners.

For those who aren't already familiar with the Myo, it consists of eight muscle-sensing modules that you strap onto the widest part of your forearm, which then lets the device detect your hand gestures. These include squeezing your fist, spreading your hand, waving your hand left or right, rotating your fist, or something as minute as a quick pinch with your thumb and another finger (which can be set to activate or pause the Myo). On top of that, there's the combination of a gyroscope, an accelerometer and a magnetometer to detect your arm motion.

There's no power button on the Myo; it wakes up as soon as you pick it up, and it automatically goes back to sleep if left alone for a while. A single charge should last somewhere between 10 to 14 hours if used continuously, which is quite impressive.

The communication link relies on Bluetooth LE, and there's a Myo Connect app that feeds the motion input back to whichever program or device you're controlling. At Thalmic Labs' demo room, we got to use the Myo to control video playback and volume on a PC, an Orbotix Ollie rolling robot plus Race The Sun, an addictive flight-based obstacle avoidance game. Save for the connectivity issue with the Ollie and the difficult nature of the game, most of these scenarios were quite straightforward for us.

Thalmic Labs CEO Stephen Lake Introduces the Myo

We've previously seen Myo demos involving PowerPoint, iTunes, Call Of Duty, Parrot AR.Drone and several smart glassess. Users will be able to download app "connectors" from the Myo Market to try out some of these use cases, as well as for controlling Spotify, Netflix, Sonos plus popular games like Minecraft and Saints Row IV.

Thalmic Labs also had some impressive showcases just before CES. In November, the company introduced TedCas' Myo integration, which allows surgeons to manipulate medical images without touching a screen or a pointing device. In the following month, Haute Technique shared its story on how it let Dutch DJ Armin van Buuren use the armband to control stage lights at his concerts. With companies betting big on gesture control this year, it'll be interesting to see if the folks behind gesture cameras can cook up something just as impressive.

Update: The product page is now live on Amazon.