Sony makes a play for the guitar, keyboard and DJ effects market with the Motion Sonic wrist controller

Sony has launched an IndieGoGo fundraiser to bring a piece of wearable tech to market that allows users to control effects such as reverb, delay and filter all by gesture. Simply attach the Sony Motion Sonic to the wrist or hand, connect it to the accompanying mobile app, and you can integrate real-time effects control into your performance.

The device is compatible with a range of instruments, including electric guitar, electronic keyboards, and DJ controllers. Using a six-axis sensor, the wrist device captures your hand's motions and translates them into a variety of commands that adjust effects parameters in real-time, making for what could be a profoundly transformative experience for performance.

For example, you can set up the Motion Sonic to respond to your picking hand movements and use it to apply a filter as you strum, offering a dynamic option for funk players. The gestures recognised by the Motion Sonic device include a wave, hand roll, up/down motion, left/right motion and simply moving your hand. 

The device is held in place by two bands that attach to your hand, and a USB-C cable is included for charging the unit. One size fits all.

These then can be used to change effects parameters for pitch bend, filter, distortion, reverb, delay, pan, gain and noise. The Motion Sonic app (iOS only) and device are paired via Bluetooth. Connect your instrument and mobile to an audio interface, adjust the settings on the Motion Sonic app, and then send the signal to your amp, speaker or presumably a DAW if recording.

With the LED illuminated on the device, you should get around 2.5 hours of continuous playing time, or six hours with the LED turned off.

Heeson Kim, project lead, says he hopes to create a new culture of music creation. “We designed the interactions that completely synchronise sound with your body,“ he said. “It allows you not to be conscious of the presence of the interface to control sound. Now, you can just let your body flow along with your emotion to express sounds.“

Designed to pick up on the most subtle of movements, those who have demoed the Sony Motion Sonic say it offers an alternative to traditional effects. Kazuki Sugawara, founder of anre*f Records, says the pitch bending effects is ideal for lo-fi guitar textures.

“It captured even slight movements of my body and I could express the comfortable pitch waving by using it,“ he said. “It is not same with the other modulation effects for making Lo-fi sound because it is not the cyclic pitch waving but the pitch waving in sync with natural movements such as hitting keys or picking for playing guitar.“

Sony plans to launch the Motion Sonic in March 2022. At present it is only going to be shipped in the US and Japanese markets, priced ¥23,900 JPY (approx £154) for early bird offers (limited to 400 units), and 27,200 JPY (approx £175) thereafter.

For more details, see the Sony Motion Sonic IndieGoGo page.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.