Since the launch of the Nintendo Wii way back in November 2006 the world has been fascinated by gesture-based wearable devices or “Appcessories”. It feels now like new gesture tech is being released almost on a weekly basis with companies claiming to finally introduce that must have gadget that will turn your bedroom into Robert Downey Jr’s basement. But are any of these products actually as good as promised? The iRing may just be!
The iRing allows you to “control your music apps and effects without touching your device”. They use hand gestures to control parameters of effects and other items in your music performances on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
Without getting overly complex the rings use patented advanced image-recognition motion control and precise geometric positioning technology to determine the exact position of the rings, which recognise and track the dot patterns allowing you to control the downloadable apps, without the need to get your device’s screen grubby.
The physical iRing
For around $20 you receive two double-sided rings that are placed quite comfortably between your fingers. On one side there is three dots in a row and on the other is three dots in a triangular pattern.
The iRing is the first motion controller system available for the Apple devices stated above and it uses the front facing camera to establish a precise reading of the position of the ring which is converted by the app into music or MIDI control messages. To put it in Lehman’s terms the iRing (and its accompanying apps) track your movements and convert them into useful info your apps can use to change things.
Music judo is the app for music lovers and aspiring DJ’s. It allows you to create non-stop, real time, music and scores with the included iRing Music Maker app. This app is surprisingly more than a novelty gimmick and could theoretically be used at parties or for recording purposes.
iRing FX/Controller appbrings music lovers into the futuristic world of motion control. The app consists of two components rolled into one: a MIDI controller and a real time audio effect processor. This allows the rings to be used control notes, Program Changes, Pitch Wheels, After Touch, MIDI System Realtime and MMC (Midi Machine Control).
So do they actually work?
Unlike many motion-led technologies the iRing is amazingly responsive piece of gesture control. At under twenty quid they are also definitely affordable and money well spent. That being said there is the damning possibility that the rings are little more than novelty which will become obsolete pretty quickly. All in all though if you are an aspiring DJ who doesn’t mind looking like Will Smith’s son in the remake of the Karate Kid then this could be for you. The free apps that come with the rings are easy to get started and you could be quickly on a one way ride to fun town.
So get memorising them hand movements, get noticed at your next DJ set and get yourself an iRing.