New Technology Allows DJs To Control Sets With A Flick Of The Wrist

21 November 2014

Spare a thought for the DJ. He drops a massive track, his fans go wild, the floor beneath his feet is pulsating to the beat, the bass is deafening, all encompassing. Poor fellow, all he wants to do is join in, just raise his hands, pump a fist, maybe wave to a friend in the crowd- but he can't. He has to focus, he’s got to keep spinning, mixing, paying attention.

Thalmic Labs feel the DJ's pain. They want him to have his cake and eat it too. Their new invention, the Myo device, will allow an artist to control his lights, visuals and music, hands-free. The Myo is a muscle-controlled armband, almost like some sort of mutated Wii controller studiously created in a top-secret laboratory to serve a higher purpose, which can be synced directly to the mixer or light show behind the deck.

The device allows interaction with the mixer or lighting via controlled arm movement. Movement that ironically, or perhaps purposely (good one Thalmic Labs!), resembles incessant fist pumping and unwieldy arm gestures. Hoping the device will gain popularity worldwide the technicians behind the Myo have made sure it is compatible with a variety of tools available for DJs including the Ableton, Traktor, Serato set ups as well as Garage Band and Logic Pro. The Myo allows you to control an assortment of functions from pitch and tone to volume and tempo.

The clever, and I believe quite tongue-in-cheek, marketing team from Thalmic Labs have landed trance superstar and king of fist-pumping, arm floundering gestures- Armin Van Buuren- to endorse the Myo armband.

The Myo is a cool device, let’s make no mistake. It will definitely add some fun to live performances, but will it also be taking something away from them? Music purists have been arguing for a better part of the decade about the robotic detachment we are seeing between artist and instrument, producer and sound. In a world where prerecorded sets, lip syncing, flashy, distracting lights and distinct lack of live mixing are the norm, Thalmic Labs have given purists just one more reason to wonder where our industry is headed. If the Myo isn’t symptomatic of our collective fading desire for musical technique and skill, then I don’t know what is.

Watch Armin Van Buuren test out the Myo in the video below.

Words: Aditya Keswani

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