A wireless sensor embedded in an armband allows subtle and unobtrusive interaction with mobile devices. The armband is worn under clothing and detects discreet ‘motionless gestures’, e.g. short contractions of the upper arm (see video below). These gestures activate functions on a mobile phone or PDA, such as rejecting an incoming call or responding with a predefined message (see MyoPhone). The armband connects over the standard wireless Bluetooth protocol to interface with mobile devices.
The motionless gesture is recognized with an electromyogram (EMG): recording of an electrical signal generated by muscular activity. EMG is used to record activity generated by very subtle movements or contractions only (isometric activity). When a gesture is recognized the device transmits via Bluetooth an appropriate control message to the mobile device. The armband is designed to comfortably fit potentially any user; it does not require calibration or training for each user. The EMG controller is a “hands free” interface as it does not occupy the user’s hands, and does not require hands to operate. This allows it to augment and complement traditional input interfaces.
Costanza E., Inverso S. A., Allen R., Maes P., “EMG For Subtle, Intimate Interfaces”, (book chapter) Lumsden J. (Ed.), Handbook of Research on User Interface Design and Evaluation for Mobile Technology, pp. 524-542, Information Science Reference, 2008
Costanza E., Inverso S. A., Allen R., Maes P., “Costanza E., Inverso S. A., Allen R., Maes P., “Intimate Interfaces in Action: Assessing Usability and Subtlety of EMG-based Motionless Gestures.” (full paper) to appear in Proc. CHI2007, April 2007, San Jose, CA, USA.
Costanza, E., Inverso, S. A., and Allen, R. “Toward Subtle Intimate Interfaces for Mobile Devices Using an EMG Controller.” (full paper) Proc. of CHI2005: Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Portland, Oregon, USA. 2005.
Costanza, E., Perdomo, A., Inverso, S. A., and Allen, R., “EMG as a Subtle Input Interface for Mobile Computing.” 6th International Symposium MobileHCI 2004. Ed. Brewster S., Dunlop M. Glasgow, UK: Springer. 426-430, 2004.