Forget about robots rising up against humans for world domination.
In the future we’re all going to be robot-human hybrids with the help of wearable computers. We’ve already seen Google Glass, the search giant’s augmented-reality glasses, and now the latest Y Combinator startup to come out of stealth, Thalmic Labs, is giving us a wrist cuff that will one day control computers, smartphones, gaming consoles, and remote-control devices with simple hand gestures.
Unlike voice-detecting Google Glass, and the camera-powered Kinect and Leap Motion controller, Thalmic Labs is going to the source of your hand and finger gestures – your forearm muscles. “In looking at wearable computers, we realized there are problems with input for augmented-reality devices,” says Thalmic Labs co-founder Stephen Lake. “You can use voice, but no one wants to be sitting on the subway talking to themselves, and cameras can’t follow wherever you go.”
I’d argue that thanks to Bluetooth headsets and Siri, we’ve already been talking to ourselves for the last decade, so talking to my glasses isn’t a huge stretch. But, I won’t deny that it looks cool to casually flick my hand to change the song on my MacBook, which is what Thalmic Labs is promising with its $149 forearm gadget called the Myo (a nod to the Greek prefix for muscle, but rhymes with Leo), which has an adjustable band that can accommodate almost anyone.