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Meet MYO – a Revolution in Motion-Sensing Technology

The way we interact with the real world and the digital world is about to change dramatically.

If you have any doubt, consider the stir that Google (GOOG) Glass is already creating.

And the device hasn’t even hit the market yet.

But Google isn’t the only company breaking new ground in this exciting area.

As you know, I’m keeping you abreast of the most promising new companies in the technology sector in our Top 10 Startups to Watch in 2013 feature.

And today, we’re adding another company to the list – Thalmic Labs…

The Armband That Reads Your Mind

The company was only founded in May 2012. Yet its product – a futuristic, motion-sensing device – could already be on the brink of becoming a household name.

It’s called MYO (which is Greek for “muscle”).

Simply put, MYO is an armband that detects the electrical impulses from your brain to your hand and arm muscles. The software then translates this information, so it can be used to control a variety of electronic devices – from a laptop computer to a remote-controlled helicopter.

In other words, it’s a mind-reading armband.

I know, I know… it sounds like something from “fantasy land.” But it’s not. Here’s a video of MYO in action to prove it…

Do you see why Reuters calls this technology an opportunity to “unleash your inner Jedi”?

Let’s dig a bit deeper to see why the investment potential is so impressive, too…

And Racing Up on the Outside…

As I said in my last column, the consensus frontrunner in the motion-sensing space in terms of investment potential and market readiness is Leap Motion.

But that potential hit an unexpected snag when the company pushed back the launch date of its device from May 19 to July 22.

I mentioned that this crucial delay could let competitors gain ground. And that’s just what Thalmic Labs is doing.

Despite being founded two years later than Leap Motion and raising tens of millions of dollars less, Thalmic’s co-founder, Stephen Lake, told Reuters, “We’ll be shipping commercial units by the end of this year.”

How is that even possible?

Well, Lake and his crew of 15 employees recognize something that I’ve told you here before: In the technology world, timing is everything. So Lake says they’ve been “usually working 20 hours a day” to get their product market ready.

Such dogged determination means that both products could hit the market around the same time. If that’s the case, who’ll win the head-to-head matchup?

Simply put, market adoption will come down to who has the better technology. And, in my opinion, Thalmic is definitely going to give Leap a run for its money.

Here’s why…

MYO vs. Leap Motion: Whose Technology Wins?

It’s important to understand that Leap and Thalmic approach the motion-sensing space in entirely different ways…

  • Leap Motion uses infrared cameras to precisely detect finger movement.
  • MYO detects electrical impulses being sent from our brains.

The result?

Leap’s range is limited. Users need to be within a short distance of – and facing – the computer and the Leap Motion device.

By contrast, MYO works at greater distances from the electronic device – it communicates via Bluetooth – and without the user facing the computer.

This key technological difference means that MYO boasts a much greater range of potential applications than Leap.

In turn, that’s bound to add up to more profits. Roger Kay, founder of research firm Endpoint Technologies Associates, estimates that this will be a $500-million market.

On the Downside…

To be fair, MYO does have a few drawbacks…

~ Cost: MYO is more expensive. The pre-order price is $149, compared to $80 for Leap. However, that doesn’t appear to be deterring consumers. Including this guy! My order was the 26,387th so far.

(That’s a shade under $4 million in sales, if you’re counting at home.)

~ It’s Wearable: MYO is a device that you have to wear, unlike Leap’s, which sits in close proximity to the user. So MYO might be uncomfortable and, in turn, undesirable for some users.

~ Settings: MYO will most likely require “lengthy calibration,” according to Juan P. Wachs, Assistant Professor at the School of Industrial Engineering at Purdue University. Essentially, each MYO will need to be custom-fitted and can’t be swapped between users, whereas Leap’s device can be.

So what’s the bottom line?

This Market is About to Change Our World… And Crank Up the Investment Potential

I’m with Apple (AAPL) co-founder, Steve Wozniak, who describes MYO as “very cool and impressive.”

What’s more, I’m convinced the company holds tremendous investment potential, which we should be able to benefit from in due course.

Unsurprisingly, MYO keeps garnering more attention from technology heavyweights. Lake says, “We certainly have… interest from many companies.”

But one thing he’s not interested in? Selling the company.

Instead, Lake intends to build the company up and go public. We’ll certainly be monitoring its IPO progress.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter whether Leap Motion or Thalmic Labs is the first to kick off the motion-sensing revolution.

What’s more important is that the way we interact with computers and the world around us is about to dramatically change.

And that change will create tremendous investment opportunities in the process – which I promise to share with you right here.

Ahead of the tape,

Louis Basenese