Last year on my visit to Waterloo in Canada, one of the coolest technology I heard about was Myo by Thalmic. Myo is a gesture control armband, a new input method. With talent dispersing from BlackBerry, Waterloo has become quite the startup hub. I got a glimpse of their office and heard lot about the Myo at the Communitech hub from other entrepreneurs. It is good to see that some of my talented friends from BlackBerry have found a good place there. We got Stephen Lake the CEO of Thalmic Labs to answer some questions for the Emberify Blog as well.
1. Where do you see Thalmic Labs and the Myo in 2015?
The Myo armband is going to be made more available this year as we finish shipping out all pre-ordered units. We recently announced that our launch on Amazon.com will be happening this quarter! Moving forward, we’re interested in growing the Myo developer community and continuing to build the future of human-computer interaction.
2. What are the biggest challenges you see in the wearable space?
One of the biggest challenges is the grouping of “wearables” together. The term “wearables” can make people think of anything from smartwatches to fitness trackers to heads-up displays, but when you really think about it, wearable technology has been around for decades with headphones and maybe even centuries with watches.
3. How do you categorise the Myo? (Wearable, gesture band or jediware?)
The Myo is an input device unlike any other product out there. It fits best when categorized as a gesture and motion control device.
4. What are some of your favourite apps?
I mostly use the Myo for presentations and music control. For music, I have it hooked up to my Sonos speakers so I can control music while I walk through my house, but also use it with my phone when I’m going for a run.
5. What is the startup ecosystem like in Waterloo?
The start-up and tech ecosystem here in Waterloo is incredible. There’s such a supportive and collaborative environment which gives companies the perfect recipe to get started and hit the ground running.
6. How has your startup journey been so far?
It has been amazing. My co-founders (Matthew Bailey and Aaron Grant) and I get to wake up every day and solve difficult problems. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
A little bit about Stephen: He was named one of Canada’s Top 20 Under 20 in 2007 and one of the Next 36 entrepreneurial leaders of Canada in 2011. He focused on hardware during his time at the University of Waterloo, where he studied as a Loran Scholar, and robotics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich). Prior to Thalmic, Stephen spent time worked in a range of industries from surgical robotics to lunar rovers. Stephen is passionate about creating new ways for humans to interact with technology.
As adopters of new technologies and design languages in our apps at Emberify we are pretty excited to see new input technology like the Myo. Hopefully we should be able to add new gesture methods like the Myo, to allow users to interact with our upcoming applications later this year.