What is EMG? How does EMG change Meta's AR future?

Dec 09,2022
What is EMG? How does EMG change Meta's AR future?

Although the augmented reality (AR) market continues to grow, the growth rate of the smart glasses market is slow. Smart glasses, like VR, are still a high-quality product. However, the lack of systems to sell applications is slowing the growth of AR hardware. Immersive companies are competing for related services to meet the growing demand for AR hardware.

EMG and EMG definition in AR environment

Electromyography (EMG) is a hardware technology that can detect and record the electrical activity of muscles and convert it into the input information of AR wearable devices, called EMG. EMG has been used as a medical tool to detect abnormal movement of animals or humans for many years. EMG technology is often used by scientists such as neuroscientists, physiotherapists, and biomedical engineers to diagnose and treat medical problems.

AR and EMG ready immersive devices allow a form of human computer interaction (HCI). This is a way to bypass traditional input methods such as the keyboard or mouse. EMG device users do not need to move their wrists, hands, or other limbs. Instead, users can use their thoughts to send electrical signals to their bodies. The EMG ready device can detect this and convert it into a computer signal covering input and navigation.

EMG can be used in AR and VR for many purposes. Research continues to show that patients with cerebral palsy may be able to use the interface supported by EMG to reconstruct neuromuscular control and coordinate the movement in the virtual. In addition, Meta's research also attempts to use EMG to make users' movement in the virtual environment more seamless. The idea is that you will wear a pair of ar glasses and an EMG wrist strap.

What does Meta do with EMG?

Meta's EMG journey began in 2019, when it acquired CTRL Labs for an undisclosed amount. It is estimated that the transaction cost Menlo Park based Meta 500 million to 1 trillion dollars.

This was one of the two companies that did EMG from the perspective of consumers at that time. The other is the Mediterranean laboratory. Since then, Thalmic Lab has changed its name to North. Google acquired the company in June 2020.

When Meta acquired CTRL Labs, the company took over the company's key intellectual property in the trained EMG model. CTRL Lab has created a customized virtual keyboard based on the electrical activity of muscles, which can adapt to users' unique typing mode, quirks and speed.

In September 2022, Meta also acquired the tactile startup Lofelt. This acquisition was carried out in the practice of FTC absorbing Meta, enabling this Menlo Park based company to design advanced touch and sensory feedback systems to meet its HCI and EMG roadmap.

Although Reality Labs continues to innovate, Meta has spent a lot of money on this subdivision. After a major internal reorganization, this Menlo Park based company significantly reduced its support for its immersive R&D laboratory in July 2022.

Meta's restructuring led the company to cancel and delay several internal Extended Reality (XR) projects, including its XR smart watch, Orion smart glasses and Nazar project. In addition, EMG R&D was not mentioned in the reorganization in July, which makes the future of the project questionable.

Key EMG features of Meta's AR vision

1. Meta chose EMG, which is an emerging technology of the company, because it is more effective than situational AI.

2. It is difficult to commercialize neural technology. EMG is feasible in this respect. EMG is not a direct brain computer interface. It does not need to insert or break the skin barrier.

3. Users can wear or take them off, and devices can gradually "learn" their habits through long-term use.

4. EMG and wrist based wearable devices can also be used well together. The smart watch supporting EMG can easily accommodate multiple sensors, antennas, batteries and computing resources. This will contribute to the excellent work of CTRL Lab in this field and make Meta stand out from the competition.


Before accelerating mainstream EMG development and AR deployment, there are still some problems to be solved. Meta and other companies need to adjust these devices according to different accessibility considerations. Privacy and security are also issues, because the gadgets that support EMG can read your most private and private electrical pulses. Given the rapid growth of AR solutions, Meta is looking for ways to adapt user inputs to emerging AR hardware. Meta is investing in neurobiofeedback technology to change the AR eyewear market.