Thalmic Labs launches its anticipated MYO developer program

By Cale Guthrie Weissman , written on July 3, 2013

From The News Desk

The wait is finally over for hungry developers hoping to get their hands on Thalmic Labs' MYO gesture-controlled armband. Well, sort of. And only for those who make the grade. Today, the company posted an online application, inviting developers "who have what it takes to create the next generation of applications in human-computer interaction" to vie for the privilege of joining its developer program. The winners are promised early access to the not-yet-released product. 

Thalmic Labs is a Waterloo, Ontario-based company focusing on human-computer technology. Started by three recent Waterloo University grads, the company has received a lot of buzz for its upcoming MYO Armband, which uses arm and hand movements as its baseline for control. Forearm movements are tracked on the device then analyzed and processed into data. There's been a lot of interest since the company released a video in April illustrating the potential of the MYO. It showed someone playing tetris and another  controlling a race car. Last month the company announced it had raised a $14.5 million Series A from Intel Capital and Spark Capital. 

These days, whenever people talk about wearable technology, Google Glass is usually the first to come to mind. But Stephen Lake, Thalmic's CEO and co-founder, sees MYO as a way to expand on Google's mode of human-computer interaction. Wearables aren't just about seeing, or issuing verbal commands, but can include other senses. Lake told PandoDaily a few months back that in the future “people aren’t going to walk around just talking to themselves.” With MYO they'll also be waving their arms like a third base coach in baseball giving signs to the hitter.

It's a mystery what kind of future MYO will bring, although I can imagine many uses: gaming, computer presentation control, external object control, etc. The developer application offers few clues. It has only three long-form questions: describe the project you'd like to fulfill, the intended platforms, and the intended programming languages. This leaves a lot of leeway for creativity, which I guess is the point. Up until now, all we've seen are videos and interviews showing what the armband could possibly do. With the developer programming beginning, we'll get a better sense as to what juncture wearable technology is at now, and whether developers will be able to take MYO to a new level.

The people at Thalmic want us to believe in the beginning of a bright, new future for the technology. There is no way to know, however, until we see the device in action. With the launch of this program and the official launch sometime in the not-too-distant future, maybe we'll see people wearing it.

And if it takes off, will we be able to come up with a term for MYO users that trumps "glassholes?"