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North was previously known as Thalmic labs, and their first product was the Myo, a gesture-based input device. More recently, they created Focals, a smart glasses product.

More on their blog here: https://www.bynorth.com/




Funny story about the Myo. It was a promising device and seemed to me like it had great niche applications (such as medical). Founders weren't interested in that I guess and moved to smart glasses. Last summer they sold the patents for Myo to a company called CTRL Labs for about $20M. In the fall Facebook snatched up CTRL Labs for $500M - $1B, and their product description was basically that of the Myo.

More info:

https://betakit.com/ctrl-labs-acquires-norths-patents-for-my...

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21058975


IIRC the reviews for the armband were unanimously bad, with the device barely working. If the device wasn't fit for gaming, it definitely would not be fit for any medical or industrial use at the time.


I had the chance to use one at a hackathon, and can confirm the device barely worked. It had huge difficulties differentiating between different input gestures, and the employee who demo'd it admitted as much.


In order to make it reliable you had to make a custom classifier. The one that shipped with their software was garbage.


>It was a promising device and seemed to me like it had great niche applications (such as medical)

Medical what? I actually had an early version of the armband and SDK, and apart from it just not working well, it aggravated my latent repetitive stress injury, just playing around with it. More importantly, though, it was a solution in search of a problem. There was no real use-case for it.


> Last summer they sold the patents for Myo to a company called CTRL Labs for about $20M.

Holly molly! They once talked with Recon Instruments about them for a few hundred thousand bucks...


Wow!


I backed the Myo, and I think I was waiting to see that killer app show up for it that I felt like actually using the thing. I don't think it ever came, despite my excitement for the concept.

Will the thing still work if I hook it up? I don't even know. As a Bluetooth device, I feel like it should be possible, but I don't know if it has any cloud service dependencies.

EDIT: Answer my own question, North's website doesn't link to https://support.getmyo.com/hc/en-us anywhere obvious, but the downloads are all there, including a zip file with all the market apps ever developed for it.


I used it for presentations and liked it conceptually because you would be able to advance the slides with the flick of a wrist and without having to hold a clicker. The problem was that it would always unlock from hand gestures and the software was glitchy. Still, it had a lot of potential.



Also, North bought the technology that became Focals from Intel: https://www.theverge.com/2018/12/17/18144221/north-focals-in...


I knew some people in Thalmic, later North. Canadian consumer electronics industry is a very small space, functions almost like a single Linkedin group, especially on the engineering side.

Well, good for them, but probably not for the business.


I bet we will be seeing the same product that Myo did but will be built into a particular watch that has the 'Designed by Apple in California, Made in USA' insignia in this decade.




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