North (formerly Thalmic Labs), the creator of the Myo armband, was acquired by Google in June 2020. Myo sales ended in October 2018 and Myo software, hardware and SDKs are no longer available or supported. Learn more.

featured developer

Featured Dev: Robots and Pencils

Featured Dev: Robots and Pencils

Robots & Pencils is an app development company known for its top-ranking consumer apps, transformative enterprise apps and gamified learning platforms. Starting as a two-person company in 2008, it has created more than 250 apps used by over 12 million people worldwide, and has operations in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. We sat down with Orest Nazarewycz and asked him a few questions about how Robots & Pencils has been using their Myo Alpha and what they want to see from future tech.

What are you working on right now?

Right now we’re developing PencilCase™, an app maker and publishing platform for the iPhone and iPad that has been designed for everyone to use, not just developers. Users can create bespoke apps quickly by dragging and dropping content in the AppMaker, and adding programmed animations, visual effects and physics. Creators can then deploy their apps to the App Store, or instantly publish them to their own device, AppDrop Community or AppDrop Enterprise, a controlled, private app store.

Unlike do-it-yourself app creator and publishing platforms, there is no limit to the types of apps that users can create with PencilCase. While no coding is required to use the editor, those with the right skills can code using JavaScript. If a project becomes so complex that they can’t use PencilCase anymore, a developer can take over seamlessly because it emits an actual Xcode obj-c project.

What have you built for the Myo armband?

We have completely integrated Myo into PencilCase. Myo Gestures can be configured to any action. For example, you could use it as a way to navigate your app hands free, or even reach out, grab and move any object in your app in real time. Being such an awesome device with so many great uses, we really wanted to make using the Myo in your app as simple and powerful as possible. We have really streamlined the process, allowing your Myo to be hooked up to your app with just the push of a button – no code required.

What do you envision for the future of wearable tech?

At Robots and Pencils, we think about all of these technologies through what we call an innovation pendulum. Throughout history, advancements in technology has given us scale or speed, and have either been silent, like the invention of silent reading or the internet, or out loud, such as the invention of the steam engine. At the moment, we’re in an era where technology is out loud –  for example, you can hear people’s phone conversations, texts, emails, etc. You can also see the technology that is being used.

However, we believe the innovation pendulum is going to swing back and fix this. Soon technology won’t be so “in your face.” We think wearable technology is going to be the future and will become common place. So, we’re excited to be spearheading it with the Myo.

What’s one tech trend that really excites you?

The whole concept of software eating software development is super exciting. With smaller teams creating disruptive technologies that are totally changing markets, we think a lot of cool startups and products will be created. This is why we think PencilCase is so exciting. It is a tool that can support this growing trend.

What are your three favorite online tools?

  • Dropbox –  I love having my files accessible anywhere on any device.
  • Github – There is no better way to store and manage your code.
  • Slack – I love the plugin integration with all the services.

Looking for more information on PencilCase or Robots and Pencils? Send Orest Nazarewycz a tweet or check in with the whole team at Robots & Pencils

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