Wearable technology and “the internet of things” may be the hottest startup segments out there in 2013. There are sensors, gadgets, bracelets, bands, watches, and other technology that captures just about everything. There’s even wearable, sensor-based technology for dogs.
Most people have seen fitness monitors, sleep monitors, and smart watches, but from what I’ve seen (and I’ve seen a lot), Myo, the flagship product from Canadian startup Thalmic Labs, takes the cake.
Myo is a bracelet that has sensors built into it that allows you to gesture control just about anything using the motion in your hand. With Myo you can easily scroll through a presentation deck, navigate a website, or pinpoint a place on a map.
Then there’s the even cooler stuff. Myo can also help you control video games and even fly smartphone- or computer-based helicopters and airplanes.
When I first watched their demo video below I thought it looked kind of silly, but really it’s one of the awesomest things I’ve ever seen. Myo eliminates the need for so many different remote controls and controllers. It’s also intuitive and the gestures (from watching the video) are natural, the gestures you would be doing on a smartphone or tablet anyway.
Sure the Wii Remote, XBox Kinect, and even Roku’s latest remote control are all about motion, but they are also tied directly to their device. Myo makes your hand the motion controller, I know awesome right.
We got a chance to talk with the team behind Myo. Check out the interview right below their video.
What is your startup called?
What does your company do?
Thalmic Labs is a rapidly growing company that is dedicated to the development of gesture control, wearable technology and human-computer interaction. Our flagship product, MYO, has already received 30,000 pre-orders, and continues to generate a massive amount of excitement about the future of wearable computing.
Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds
Stephen Lake – Founder, CEO
Matthew Bailey – Founder
Aaron Grant – Founder
At the University of Waterloo, Stephen, Matthew and Aaron graduated with degrees in Mechatronics Engineering.
Stephen was named one of Canada’s Top 20 under 20 in 2007 and one of the Next 36 entrepreneurial leaders of Canada in 2011. Stephen graduated with an additional certificate in Entrepreneurship from the University of Toronto, and studied as a visiting scholar at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich. He became an entrepreneur from a young age, attaching LED lights to radio-controlled trucks and selling them at age 13.
Matthew studied pattern recognition, which drove the development of the underlying machine learning magic behind Thalmic’s products. He studied as a visiting scholar at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich.
Aaron has an extensive software engineering background, having spent time in Silicon Valley working for Zynga. His passion for software engineering has even led him to create his own embedded microprocessor operating system.
Where are you based?
What problem do you solve?
How do we connect the real and the digital worlds as we move towards wearable and ubiquitous computing?
Why does it matter?
MYO provides a way for us to interact with and control computers and other digital devices directly using our hands. Fundamentally, Thalmic is attempting to close the gap between humans and technology. The applications are endless, including gaming and entertainment, industrial, healthcare, education, business, and general user applications.
What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?
The video that we launched MYO with has millions of views on YouTube and gave us immediate reach when getting our product out there initially. More recently, our company announced the closing of a Series A funding round at $14.5 million – the largest round of funding that any post-Y Combinator company has received to date. This funding will be used to fuel continued growth, further product development of MYO, and develop future products and technologies from Thalmic Labs.
What are your next milestones?
The most important milestone for us is to get our final product into the hands of thousands of waiting customers. This includes taking our time going to production to ensure the quality of our product and finding the best partners to do this with. Another big milestone is to get early units and documentation to developers late this summer and see how they can help rethink human-computer interaction. Beyond that, we’re excited for the future of technology. For us, MYO is a first step down a long path in this direction.
Where can people find out more? Any social media links you want to share?
The best way to understand Thalmic Labs and MYO is by watching the video on our homepage (https://www.thalmic.com/myo/). As you explore, feel free to “get updates” and pre-order MYO at https://www.thalmic.com/myo/preorder/. You can follow Thalmic Labs on twitter at @Thalmic.