The iRing recognises and understands your hand movements, enabling you to control your music and create sound effects on your mobile device.
Although gesture recognition technologies are now being applied to a growing range of equipment, they still represent a major outlay for the ordinary customer, and most consumer products working with such technology are still at the embryonic stage. Now international music technology specialist IK Multimedia has come out with a system using a plastic finger-worn device that enables music lovers to indulge their futuristic fantasies by controlling apps and sound effects on their mobiles with just a wave of the hand. The iRing, which has been developed for Apple products – iPhone, iPad and iPod touch – has two faces featuring engraved black dots that work together with a dedicated app. It can be used either as stand-alone or as part of various workplace applications.
Connected ring enabling gesture recognition
The iRing system is based on two technologies that enable seamless intuitive use of the phone-loaded apps: a) an image recognition system which identifies the user’s hand when it moves; and b) a precise geometric positioning system that recognises the patterns on each face of the ring. Three black dots set out in a triangular pattern on one face of the ring and in a straight line on the other enable the out-facing camera on the user’s mobile to estimate both how far away from the device s/he is and his/her spatial positioning vis-à-vis the device screen. This feature, combined with dedicated apps, transposes hand movements into action commands to the phone. Although the iRing is designed for a fairly knowledgeable audience, IK Multimedia plans to price it very reasonably and, given that manoeuvring a plastic ring with dots on it does not call for much technological knowhow, IK Multimedia should be able to target a rather broad market.
Use range currently very limited
At the present time this invention can only be used with dedicated music apps – currently only the generalist iRing Music Maker and the more professionally-oriented iRing FX Controller are available. However, unlike other touch-controlled music apps, this technology not only allows you to move back and forth across the screen on an X-Y axis to control delay time and feedback repeats but also provides a third axis of control when you move the iRing towards or away from your mobile device. This third axis allows you to regulate the amount of delay applied to the signal, so you can control up to three parameters at a time with just one iRing, six parameters with an iRing on each hand. Taking a broader view, although the iRing is not based on revolutionary technology, it might well help to popularise the use of the touchfree approach and encourage people to have some fun with futuristic remote control of devices before the widespread takeup of haptic technology with force feedback and fully virtualised screens become the new reality.