Myo armband maker Thalmic Labs is currently better known for its wearable and open-source detection technology than bridging the communication gap between humans and computers, but according to its newest executive that reputation is likely to change soon.
Abhi Bhatt, who served as the head of connected products at sports gear manufacturer Under Armour Inc. before joining Waterloo-based Thalmic as the latter’s new vice-president of product experience last month, said the key factor that attracted him to Thalmic was its vision for what he calls “the future of human-computer interaction.”
“Ultimately, you look for impact in whatever you do, and we here at Thalmic have the potential to change the world for the better,” he told ITBusiness.ca in an email, noting that Thalmic’s “quality talent” and the company’s dedication to innovation were incentives as well.
As vice-president of product experience, Bhatt will be charge of guiding the conception and development of Thalmic’s current and future products, from design to delivery.
“The role is similar in its scope to my role at Under Armour but the problem, the consumer, and the technology have all changed,” he said.
Bhatt said he also looked forward to drawing from his experience with Under Armour, where his team was able to deliver six products in a three-year period, including the Under Armour HealthBox (which, it must be noted, former ITBusiness.ca contributor Jackie Atkins found less than impressive), SpeedForm Gemini 2 connected running shoes, and JBL Wireless heart-rate monitoring headsets.
“We really established a beachhead for Under Armour,” he said. “My goal at Thalmic is to take my experience and leverage it to drive consumer-centric product innovation, build an incredible product experience team and deliver products that customers will love.”
While Bhatt could not divulge any of his current projects at Thalmic to ITBusiness.ca, he said the company will be working hard to create technology “that amplifies our natural abilities as humans and allows us to not just do more, but to be more in a way that is meaningful and innately human.”
“Our focus is on understanding the consumer’s needs and the technology curve – that is, finding ways to unlock magical experiences that address those needs,” he said.
A recent Betakit interview with Thalmic CEO and cofounder Stephen Lake was equally cryptic, with Lake emphasizing the potential for wearable technology to “let us connect and be more present while giving us benefits of tech.”
In the past Thalmic’s open-source code for the Myo armband, which translates the electrical impulses between a user’s brain and their muscles into computer commands, has been used by developers to build technologies such as smart glasses and prosthetic limbs.
Bhatt is only the latest high-profile executive to join Thalmic, which opened an office in Silicon Valley and hired former Samsung executive Tara Kriese to lead its marketing team last year.