CTRL Labs electromyography wristband - wow forget hand tracking

Although now owned by FB, so the possibility that they’ll know what you’re doing from your wrist actions. Bad news for nature video fans :rofl:

Just saw a LinkedIn clip showing VR UI control, and typing without a keyboard, purely by measuring electrical impulses in your wrist. No cameras needed for handtracking. Can’t find that on YT but a more general video here:


The handtracking demos I have experienced for Pimax headset are so amazing, that no, an EMG wristband will not even do much for helping with ‘occluded’ fingers.

What EMG wristbands will be useful for is gesture recognition when NOT using VR. Like using gestures with smart watches.

I don’t agree as on instructables? I think it was using emg Sensors on the arm you can play with mapping muscles movements. If the wrist band can track fingers… Add a camera/positional tracking and you have a very interesting controller.

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Yes, for tracking relative muscle activity relative to the wrist. Getting pinpoint accuracy for each fingertip in 3D space? The hand tracker demos so far would be a very high bar for an EMG system to live up to in that regard.

They claim 1mm finger accuracy because of the strength of the wrist signal, the strongest in the body supposedly.

There seems to be a demo of someone typing on a desk quickly and accurately without a physical keyboard. Of course I don’t know if there’s an actual working prototype with that application.

There’s another example of a Pimax Experience style UI for an Oculus headset. It goes through the options by picking up thumb and finger movements - as if they were holding a controller, but they are not.

One of the nice things would be that you don’t have to raise your hands to be in view of a camera. Just your muscle movements with your hands by your side, or on your lap is enough.

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This article (see below) on FB acquiring this NYC startup includes a video that does show typing without a keyboard… but what really impressed me… playing the classic game ASTROID and moving your ship and firing with your mind.

I hope FB makes good use of this technology. It holds so much promise!


Nice. Yes the fact that after a while you don’t even need any physical movement, but just to send the impulses is enough.

As he says at the end, it’s not motion tracking. It’s direct reading of the nerve impulse to understand intention. With all sorts of possbilities.

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This idea is quite old. Tigerdirect I think it was 5 or more years ago had a thought controller for sale. But never took off. Too soon.

Doubtful. Electrocardiography (ECG, heart), is about 10x stronger than any electromyography (EMG, muscle) electrical signal I am aware of, at least externally.

IIRC, the Pimax hand tracker can see basically everywhere your own eyes can, and beyond.

The idea of thought controllers (BMI) is very old… actually having a functional one isn’t!!! I don’t believe a functional thought controller existed 5 years ago!

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They actually did. But it was quite expensive and had no adoption. I’m sure the newer version is much improved though.

there is another cool feature of this wrist controllers for ppls who lost their hand, they still can generate those signals on wrist & there were demos which shown this


Hehe you’re determined to negate this in favour of the Pimax solution. In the short term, sure, but I think this has huge potential as a future solution that goes beyond visual tracking and therefore may offer some key advantages.

As I wrote on the last post: “As he says at the end, it’s not motion tracking. It’s direct reading of the nerve impulse to understand intention. With all sorts of possbilities.”

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Not at all.

I have been following the EMG solution since IIRC NASA researchers reported a virtual keypad using the technology decades ago. My enthusiasm waned a lot after having built some biosignal amplifier technology myself, I realized the limitations of any external interface of that sort.

Still the most sensitive EEG our there, and also capable of EMG and ECG. It was designed to reach fundamental physical limits - detecting any electrical biosignal above the noise floor. And before anyone asks, extensive, effective, and tested safety systems were included.

What has gained favor with me is not the Pimax hand tracking solution (which AFAIK is actually third party tech), but photon based tracking in general.

Particle physics are really unambigious here. If you need something that interacts significantly, at a distance, the only forces that can do that in the universe are electric and magnetic. Only one fundamental particle, based on those forces, also meets that criteria. VR tracking? Go with real or virtual photons.

Ideally of the ‘Oculus Constellation’ variety.

Only practical alternatives are inertial guidance (most accurate possible systems are neither adequate nor compact enough for VR), or reference to a rigid frame (which is really relying on virtual photons between electrons/protons). EMG is basically relying on the latter, humans are NOT rigid frames to begin with, human muscles are intrinsically very noisy, and external electric biosignals in general are even noisier due to the high impedance putting everything close to the thermal noise floor. Just think about why we don’t hear much about land animal equivalents of electric fish - basically the same reason the best EEG electrodes involve sandpaper and conductive fluid.

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Ah very cool. I don’t know anything about this sort of tech, but clearly you’ve done your research, as have the CTRL Labs guys.

I can only say that I hope a viable product comes from it in future. If photon based tracking continues to win out, so be it.

As long as one day I can use a virtual keyboard in VR without having to click for each damn letter one at a time, I won’t complain which method wins out :wink:


Indeed, that would be very helpful. I bought one of those tiny pocket wireless keyboards, but the rubber keys won’t allow any UV cured epoxy to stick, and the keyboard layout is very difficult to navigate blindly.


Not useful for VR of course (unless hybridised with hand tracking somehow?), but I remember when these IR ones came out. As I’ve never seen a proper review anywhere I assume that’s not a good sign:

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