editor's blog
Subscribe Now

Muscling Up

We’ve seen gesture recognition before, and the two major modes, if you will, are using cameras (either 2- or 3-D) to “see” and interpret gestures and using inertial sensors to detect hand motion and infer gestures.

Thalmic is about to launch its own gesture control armband, but they rely on a completely different source of information for detecting gestures: muscle movements. Or, more accurately, the electrical signals that govern muscle movement.

The measurement technique is called “electromyography” (EMG), and the device they’re building is called the Myo. While it does contain an inertial sensor, they say that they can detect much more subtle gestures by reading the muscles and cross-referencing that information with that of the IMU, making outsized gesturing less necessary. They claim that the EMG readings are impervious to sweat, dryness, heat, hair, and differences in muscle tone.

Each device contains 8 EMG sensors plus an IMU, some computing capability, and Bluetooth LE. The signals are processed in the armband; the output is an event representing a classified gesture. All of the usable gestures are pre-defined; they’re keeping the number of gestures to a small number.

While the gestures are fixed, their meanings aren’t. Application developers can use their SDK to assign specific semantics for the gestures within their applications. It’s even possible to fuse the events from two different armbands (one on each arm) for more complex two-handed gesturing.

I talked to them in May at the Embedded Vision Summit (ironic); at that time they had alpha samples out for developers. They recently announced the final design, slimming down and changing the look as compared to the alpha armband. In the process, they had to redo some of the electronics to accommodate the shape – and, according to their blog, they’ve improved the electrical performance in the process. Final devices are now expected to ship in September.

Myo_figure.png

 

This doesn’t strike me as something you’d just wear around; it’s still pretty bulky as an accessory. But using it specifically as an input device for things like gaming is an interesting twist. It will also be interesting to see what new roles EMG may provide in future devices.

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Jan 22, 2021
Amidst an ongoing worldwide pandemic, Samtec continues to connect with our communities. As a digital technology company, we understand the challenges and how uncertain times have been for everyone. In early 2020, Samtec Cares suspended its normal grant cycle and concentrated ...
Jan 22, 2021
I was recently introduced to the concept of a tray that quickly and easily attaches to your car'€™s steering wheel (not while you are driving, of course). What a good idea!...
Jan 22, 2021
This is my second post about this year's CES. The first was Consumer Electronics Show 2021: GM, Intel . AMD The second day of CES opened with Lisa Su, AMD's CEO, presenting. AMD announced new... [[ Click on the title to access the full blog on the Cadence Community...
Jan 20, 2021
Explore how EDA tools & proven IP accelerate the automotive design process and ensure compliance with Automotive Safety Integrity Levels & ISO requirements. The post How EDA Tools and IP Support Automotive Functional Safety Compliance appeared first on From Silicon...

featured paper

Overcoming Signal Integrity Challenges of 112G Connections on PCB

Sponsored by Cadence Design Systems

One big challenge with 112G SerDes is handling signal integrity (SI) issues. By the time the signal winds its way from the transmitter on one chip to packages, across traces on PCBs, through connectors or cables, and arrives at the receiver, the signal is very distorted, making it a challenge to recover the clock and data-bits of the information being transferred. Learn how to handle SI issues and ensure that data is faithfully transmitted with a very low bit error rate (BER).

Click here to download the whitepaper

Featured Chalk Talk

Passive Component Solutions for Automotive Safety Electronics

Sponsored by Mouser Electronics and AVX

In today’s demanding automotive safety applications, choosing high-quality passives with the right performance properties can make the difference between success and catastrophic failure. With issues like power quality, EMI suppression, circuit protection, and antennas, getting the right passives is critical. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Daniel West of AVX about how to choose the right passives for safety-critical automotive applications.

Click here for more information about AVX Solutions for Automotive Safety Electronics