Although the iRing, IK's latest mobile music venture, might appear to be almost literally money for old rope - 20 quid for two small pieces of moulded plastic - it does actually have genuine potential as a performance tool for iOS musicians.
"The iRing system employs your iOS device's camera to read the movement of two 'rings' in 3D space"
In a nutshell, iRing is a motion control system that employs your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch camera to read the movement of two 'rings' in 3D space and translate it into general purpose MIDI data or proprietary controller information for bespoke applications.
The iRings themselves (available in grey, white and green) aren't in fact rings at all - they're more like knuckle dusters, each held between two fingers of either hand rather than worn on one.
Both are identical, with a double-sided design - one side etched with three triangular dots, the other with three horizontally aligned dots - enabling the receiving app to see them as separate controllers when both sides are presented together (i.e., worn on two hands).
iRing currently works with four apps, all free on the App Store. Three (GrooveMaker Free, DJ Rig Free and iRing Music Maker) are of the 'casual' variety, while iRing FX/ Controller is the only one of real interest to musicians.
This comprises a serviceable motion-controlled multieffects processor for bussing other apps and external sounds into, and, more importantly, a MIDI controller editor, for assigning the X, Y and Z axes of each iRing, as well as a range of gestures (punch, rotate, etc), to as many MIDI notes and controller messages as you like. These are then output to your Mac or PC where they can be used to control software DAWs, instruments and effects, or routed to other apps running on your iOS device.
The interface isn't the most intuitive we've ever seen, but it gets the job done. More importantly, hand movements are read accurately - although above a certain speed the camera struggles to keep up and jumps from start to end point, rather than gliding smoothly.