Our team was inspired to work on this project mainly due to two reasons:
As a Google Home owner, I regularly use voice-commands to control my smart home devices such as my Philips Hue lights and Wemo Smart Plugs. However, one Saturday morning, after a night of alcohol and karaoke, I opened my mouth in an attempt to turn on the lights, but the only sounds that came out of my mouth were “hey ggg...gg…, t…the...lights”. I’ve lost my voice, and along with it, my ability to turn on the lights! And then another thought hit me: how can the 18 million US adults (8% of the US population) who had suffered from voice problems in 2015, or the other billions of people who don't speak the language or have speech impairments, turn on and off their lights? Bam! An idea was born.
After experimenting with its capabilities and data output, our team immediately decided to create a hardware-integrated hack involving the Myo Armband. As a team of 4 mechanical engineers and 1 programmer, it was clear from the beginning that our best chances of success would be a hardware hack with either a web or mobile app GUI.
What it does
Using the Myo Armband, users can control their smart home devices such as lights and fans at the flick of their wrist and arm. Based on how many devices there are, users can use the MyoHome web app to configure the gestures for each device, and save those customized gestures to a user profile. Although there are only 5 basic gestures built in to the Myo Connect app, there are essentially an infinite number of gestures that could be configured based on the raw data output from the accelerometer, EMG sensors, and gyroscope.
How we built it
At first, we performed diagnostic tests to determine the accuracy, range, and capabilities of the Myo Armband through Myo Connect to get a feel of the range of motions and the capabilities of this armband. We then split into sub-teams to tackle the different challenges, including: website and interface design, electronics control, mock house model design, and demo/presentation strategy. Finally it all came back together with our completed prototype that shows how the Myo armband can truly be integrated into our lives and enable everyone - whether you’re mute or having speech difficulties - to fully enjoy smart home technologies.
Challenges we ran into
- Designing a C++ application that could smoothly and efficiently bind to Myo’s C++ bindings
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
- Prepared a powerful presentation of our proof-of-concept demonstration with our beautifully-built home
- Developed gesture combinations that are not native to the Myo SDK based on sensors data
What we learned
- How to control hardware using a Myo Armband and Arduino
What's next for MyoHome
Due to time constraint, the MyoHome app currently only works with hacked arduino-enabled LEDs and motors. The natural progression of this project would be towards enabling integration with smart home products and apps currently on the market from tech giants like Google and Samsung, as well as from other companies like Philips, TP-Link, and Wemo.