The New Wave of Robotics: Ziro and Myo Puts Gesture-based Technologies into Motion


Aside from all of the innovative tools, equipment and technology that is readily available on the market, have you really taken the time to acknowledge the power within the palms of your own hands? Nowadays, these skills are mostly discarded, placing most of the creative responsibilities into the hands of software and digital platforms. Although this strategy offers technological advantages, it still lacks the flexible range of motion found with just the flick of a wrist or a hand gesture.

ziro smart glove controlling robot

ZeroUI a tech startup reigning from San Jose, California, came to our attention by way of a successful indiegogo campaign for Ziro, and from its ‘Best of CES 2016 finalist’ nomination by Engadget. Ziro, their debut application to hit the market provides a unique robotic kit.This cutting edge software uses a “smart glove” where people control technology with their hands rather than a traditional remote. The team’s indieogogo campaign attained its funding goal in April 2016. The campaign has currently raised $44,887 with the total of 225 backers and has only 18 days left.

Founded in 2013, the company specializes in technology that utilize a gesture-based natural user interface (NUI). Users are now able to create and control robot technology simply by making hand gestures. Luckily for us, it doesn’t take an expert to operate and has been recognized as the most comprehensive gender-neutral robotic kit. This is done with the glove’s sensors and the wireless motorized modules. RPRNmag interviewed Raja Jasti, Ziro’s CEO and co-founder. Jasti  gave us the scoop on Ziro’s background along with its vision for the future.

Jasti told RPRNmag that the concept for Ziro’s robotic smart glove found its inspiration in the company’s co-founder, Dr. Karthick Ramani, Cdesign Lab at Purdue University who instructed a popular toy design class. With the help of CEO, Raj Jasti, and Learning Sciences Professor of Indiana University, Kylie Peppler, Ziro has been critiqued as one of the finest robotic technologies to hit the mainstream. Jasti said to us “that education is the company’s initial beach head and its greatest future,” and has received funding from Purdue University along with the National Science Foundation (NSF) in educational technologies. Ziro representatives displayed their technology at the Future of Educational Technologies Conference (FETC) in Orlando, Florida earlier this year. Even though their niche may be the education field, Jasti is not cutting himself short and stated to RPRNmag that Ziro will apply to,“several industrial applications such as Medical, Defense, Agriculture, Home Automation etc. In the end there can be much bigger applications.” Ziro plans on mass producing its kit “very soon and will offer it in retail stores in 2017.”

Myo drone

Another company, Myo a Canadian startup based in Waterloo, Ontario at Thalmic Labs, offers similar gesture-based technology with its specialized armband. Using motion and muscle monitors, the armband can translate your movements into input commands. In contrast to Ziro’s smart glove, Myo focuses on muscle activity in the user’s arm accurately monitoring from the forearm down to the users’ fingers. Compatible with PC, Mac, iOS and Android operating systems, the armband interacts with these networks via bluetooth with its intricate ARM processor. Its diverse market applications has made it perfect for entertainment and education settings. Although it slightly differs from the technology seen with Ziro, both providers attempt to simplify tasks by eliminating the need for a remote or controller altogether. At the time of publishing, RPRNmag hadn’t heard back from Myo. We will update the story as necessary if new information is shared.

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