Tag Archives: MyoWare

‘Sup Brow? Send a message to your friend by making a muscle

Text a friend by lifting your eyebrow using a MyoWare muscle sensor and an Adafruit Bluefruit Feather board. 

In today’s world, there are all kinds of ways to message one another. There’s texting, emailing, Skyping, Snapchatting, and countless other forms of communication. But what if you could send a message to your friend by simply raising your eyebrow?


This was something Adafruit’s Becky Stern and Kate Hartman wanted to make a reality in their recent wearables project, ’Sup Brows. To bring this idea to life, the duo employed a MyoWare muscle sensor along with a Feather Bluefruit 32U4 LE (ATmega32U4) microcontroller to transmit a signal through the phone to Adafruit IO and then IFTTT to trigger an SMS.

“It’s really neat to use non-verbal communication like facial expressions as an interface for electronics,” Hartman explains.


As cool of a project as this may be, ‘Sup Brows is simply the beginning. Since it’s connected to IFTTT, the possibilities of what you can accomplish by creating a recipe and just raising your eyebrows are endless. Similarly, Stern and Hartman note that it can also be hooked up to a variety of other muscles to have activities prompted by other facial expressions, gestures and actions.

So whether it’s booking an appointment with your cosmetic surgeon when your Botox wears off or getting yourself out of a date with a butt dial, everything is fair game. Intrigued? Head over to Adafruit’s tutorial page to get started.


Create your own muscle-controlled Wolverine claws

These DIY Wolverine claws will extend when you flex your muscles. 

While we’ve seen plenty of X-cellent DIY Wolverine projects in the past, this recent project from Advancer Technologies founder and die-hard Maker Brian Kaminski has surely topped the list of clawesomeness. He simply flexes his arms — and snikt! — the claws extend in a matter of seconds.


This project was devised as a way to celebrate the successful launch of the team’s fourth-generation muscle sensor, the MyoWare. For those who may not be familiar with the campaign currently live on Kickstarter, the wearable sensor platform is used to measure a muscle’s electric potential. The harder a wearer flexes, the more motor units are recruited to generate greater muscle force. The greater the number of motor units, the more the muscle electrical activity increases. MyoWare then analyzes this electrical activity and outputs an analog signal that represents how hard the muscle is being flexed. The harder it is flexed, the higher the MyoWare output voltage will go — as demonstrated in the latest Wolverine project.


To bring this claw to life, Kaminski attaches a few sensors to his arm and proceeds to making a muscle. As this occurs, MyoWare detects the flexing via EMG and converts it into a digital signal. This information is transmitted to an Arduino Pro Mini (ATmega328) embedded within the claw tasked with controlling the mechanism. Meanwhile, the Arduino’s built-in 5V regulator is also used to power the MyoWare.


An added bonus to the already X-tremely cool build is that a majority of its parts were 3D-printed. Intrigued? We thought you might be. Fortunately, Advancer Technologies has provided a step-by-step breakdown of its build over on MAKE: Magazine. However, those looking to get started may have to wait until MyoWare begins shipping in July.

MyoWare is an Arduino-compatible, wearable muscle sensor platform

This wearable sensor platform allows you to harness the power of muscle signals.  

Using our muscles to control the world around us is something we are all accustomed to — whether that’s pushing buttons on TV remotes, pulling door handles or toggling game joysticks. But what if we could take those things out of the equation? In other words, what if you could remove the middleman by harnessing your muscle’s electrical activity, amplifying it and then converting it into a form that can be used to command an Arduino, a robot or an assortment of everyday devices?


Measuring muscle activity by detecting its electric potential is commonly referred to as electromyography, or EMG. The process has traditionally been employed throughout the medical industry, albeit not so much the hobbyist crowd. However, with the advent of the Maker Movement paired with rise of ever-shrinking yet more powerful microcontrollers, EMG circuits and sensors have found their way into all kinds of control systems. And so, MyoWare was born.

Now in its fourth iteration, the wearable muscle sensor platform enables users to measure the filtered and rectified electrical activity of a muscle. Simply stick the MyoWare sensor on a few electrodes and place onto a person’s skin. When the brain tells their muscle to flex, it will send an electrical signal to that muscle to start recruiting motor units — these are those groups of muscle fibers responsible for generating force strength.read the voltage out and start pumping up those muscles. The more a wearer flexes, the more motor units are recruited to generate greater muscle force. The greater the number of motor units, the more the muscle electrical activity increases. MyoWare then analyzes this electrical activity and outputs an analog signal that represents how hard the muscle is being flexed.


The latest version of the platform allows the sensors to be plugged directy into a 3.3V–5V development board, like an Arduino Pro Mini (ATmega328), and eliminates those pesky wires by letting Makers easily snapping the embedded electrodes onto MyoWare. Advancer Technologies has also added a secondary output for RAW EMG waveform, an on-board on/off switch and a pair of LEDs that will serve as a power indicator as well as a gauge for muscle flexing.


As any Maker knows, extending capabilities is key when a project is under development. And so, the team admittedly decided to take a page from the highly-popular Arduino platform’s playbook and incorporate shields into MyoWare. These modular boards consist of a cable shield for when embedded snaps are not suitable, a proto shield with tons of through hole pins, a power shield with two 20mm coin cell batteries to give MyoWare all of the juice it needs to operate, and a meter shield.

“The Mighty Meter Shield is what got us really excited about the prospect of shields. This shield takes the MyoWare output and lights up an LED bar depending on how hard you flex. The harder you flex; the more bars will light up. It even holds a 20mm coin battery so you can just stick shield+sensor assembly on your muscle and start flexing,” the team writes.


What’s more, the startup has been providing its sensors to several organizations to enable a range of impressive projects that are truly making a difference in this world. Take Limbitless Solutions for example, who has been able to craft 3D-printed myoelectric prosthetic arms and donate them to children in need. During their crowdfunding campaign, Advancer Technologies has committed to donating one sensor a child for every five backers of $25 or more.

Intrigued? Head over to its official Kickstarter page, where Advancer Technologies is currently seeking $10,000. Delivery is slated to begin in July 2015. In the meantime, you can check out its earlier version on SparkFun here.