FireShonks - Try this at home

Encapsulated Electromyography with Myo and Raspi
12-29, 22:00–22:40 (Europe/Berlin), Fireshonks
Language: English

Let's talk ten year old tech! The myo armband was once a really strange way to control a computer, and then became a way to do fine-grained myomuscular electrical detection research. This is a talk about how to hook a myo to a Raspberry Pi 3B+ in 2023, and from there how to have the armband communicate over serial to other devices. We choose to use it to control a Programmable Air system for pneumatic control of muscular robots.


Let's talk ten year old tech! The Myo armband from Thalmic Labs was once a really strange way to control a computer, and then became a pretty good way to do fine-grained myomuscular electrical detection research for prosthetics. These processes usually have a high cost or involve less-portable computing systems. In order to make a robotic effect that can be deployed apparently independently, it's more interesting to have a low-cost, encapsulated system.

In this talk we'll walk through what it takes in 2023 to have a Thalmic Myo armband talk to a Raspberry Pi 3B+ using Python. We'll provide a demonstration of a pneumatic robot based on the Programmable Air system controlled over serial using the armband.

The goal of this project is to have access to strong mechanical advantage without the compromises of servos or stepper motors, and with some of the organic feel possible with air or water systems.

Alex Leitch is an artist, educator, and technician. They currently serve as Assistant Director of the HCIM program at the University of Maryland, where they have taught courses on programming, interaction design, and fabrication since 2019. Their recent projects include interdisciplinary outdoor installations like Aqualith, a capacitive-stone installation, and FiddleHex. Their main interest is in kinetic sculpture and robotics with interesting control systems.

Celia Chen is a 2nd year PhD student in the Information Studies program at the University of Maryland. They hold BS and MS degrees in Cognitive and Psychological Data Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where they worked with the RPIrates on computational text analysis of political tweets and creating predictive models using WHO data to estimate early COVID-19 infection spread under the advisement of Dr. James Hendler. Concurrently advised by Dr. Alicia Walf, they wrote protocols for using Fitbits and other biometric sensors for human subjects research, gaining experience with wearable sensors and physiological data. Currently advised by Dr. Jen Golbeck, their personal research explores user identity construction and language use in online spaces. For this project, Celia handled the coding to enable communication between the Myo armband, Raspberry Pi, and pneumatic robot, drawing on their background in cognitive science and human sensor input.