CTRL-labs is creating neural interfaces for robotics and immersive worlds that leverage electromyography (EMG) signals that are radiated from muscle contractions. This gives them the ability to isolate individual motor neurons, which is opening up a whole new world of user interactions for controlling robotics, avatar embodiment within immersive environments, and it could prove to have many applications as an assistive technology. Being able to volitionally control a single motor neuron combined with the plastiscity of our motor system means that there could be an incredible number of other applications for this technology within the context of spatial computing, especially when combined with other input methods. The biggest downfall of this type of EMG input is that it doesn’t naturally contain 6 degree-of-freedom information, which means that it would likely need to be used in conjunction with other camera-based or sensor-based systems within immersive environments where the position in space could significant difference when used within the context of spatial computing.
I had a chance to talk with neuroscientist Dan Wetmore from CTRL-labs at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research Workshop on the Future of Neuroscience and VR about why he’s so excited about the potential of EMG as an input method, the different use cases that they’re seeing for CTRL-labs so far, how the embodied cognition implications of what it means to use the movement of your body as mode of human-computer interaction.
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