IK Multimedia Intros $25 iRing 3D Music Controller

IK-multimedia-iring-controller

IK Multimedia has introduced the iRing – a $25 device that works with your iOS device to work as a motion-tracking controller for music.

iRing utilizes a wearable ring with identifiable markers & your mobile device’s front-facing camera to determine the precise positioning of the ring markers, tracking their movements and position in the 3-dimensional space in front of the device. This system provides a low-cost solution for 3D motion control.

draw_hand_xyzThe iRing controller is a lightweight, double-sided ring that the user wears between two fingers. Each ring features a linear dot pattern on one side and a triangular pattern on the other. The device camera picks up the positioning of the ring patterns and the apps convert that information into music commands for dedicated app or MIDI information, which any compatible music app can read. This lets you control up to six music parameters in your preferred music apps with one or two hands gestures.

Here’s a preview of iRing in action:

iRing includes two identical double-sided ring controllers, plus two free apps for music applications, which target everyone from music lovers to knowledgeable musicians: iRing Music Maker and iRing FX/Controller:

  • iRing Music Maker gives music lovers a way to create music and grooves using hand gestures.
  • iRing FX/Controller app targets skilled musicians and DJs, and converts the distance information from the rings into precise MIDI control information that can be configured by the user.

The iRing FX/Controller app also doubles as a controllable audio effects processor with 16 creative effects, including Delay, Stutter, Phazer, Flanger, Compression, Fuzzy, Reverb, AutoWah, Crush, Twist Up & Down, Brake, Spin and Tail. These effects can be controlled by the iRing, and inserted into the device audio path for use with any music app that is Audiobus or Inter-App Audio compatible.

IK Multimedia plans to incorporate iRing technology into its core apps, including GrooveMaker, DJ Rig, AmpliTube, SampleTank and VocaLive. In addition, IK is offering a free development kit and licensing program, so support can easily be incorporated into other applications.

Pricing and Availability:

iRing will cost US $24.99/19.99 Euro (exc. taxes), and will be available in Q1 2014.

29 thoughts on “IK Multimedia Intros $25 iRing 3D Music Controller

    1. Especially as it will probably be possible to use this with just a printed version of the ring. Which would be great if you want to try it before buying it.

  1. It’s not breakthrough technology. It’s the same thing thats being done in mocap, Xbox Kinekt, etc. I bet you don’t need the rings at all, but just a hard surface with a dot pattern that is the same size. Also, pretty lame that they didn’t use any audio in their demo that was being real time controlled.

    1. Xtopher – it’s a breakthrough for this sort of tech to be mainstream & cheap.

      Using the Kinect for music was always a hack and one that doesn’t even work well. This is a fraction of the cost, usable technology and free to incorporate into apps.

      Which iPad synth will incorporate this first?

      1. Ok, so if you don’t think the Kinect works well, what do you think will make this even cheaper tech work better? Probably why there wasn’t a direct example in the marketing video.

        Trust me, it’s the same tech everyone else is using. The camera looks at the dot pattern and tracks it. Then as you rotate or move it, the software smooths and interpolates the motion and adjusts a variable that drives your output parameter. If the pattern gets smaller it means your hand is moving away. If the pattern gets larger it means your hand is getting closer. The trade off is always between resolution (how many dots/shapes are we tracking and how often), and the processing power of the machine doing so. Expect to loose more clock cycles from the host machine as the tracking gets better. So your iPad will take a small performance hit if you run this, but I would guess it’s not much.

        1. The resolution of the camera on the Kinect is terrible – which means it can’t even capture the 128 steps typically used with MIDI. And the latency was equally terrible.

          Those were showstoppers for people trying to make music with the Kinect.

          I’m with you, though, on wanting to see a more musical demonstration of this!

          1. “The resolution of the camera on the Kinect is terrible”

            Resolution is 640×480 on both the Kinect and the front camera on every apple products except those released in the last few months (Ipad Air and the new Mini). Kinect for Windows has a better resolution

            And that latency you are talking about exists in games because of the skeleton mapping system, but if you get to program your own mapping system you can greatly reduce latency (to be almost non existent).

            “which means it can’t even capture the 128 steps typically used with MIDI.”

            I don’t think you really know what you are talking about, there are plenty of Kinect Midi controllers like NI Mate and the aptly named “Kinect MIDI Controller”, amongst others. Google them up, they all do capture the 127 steps.

            1. Have you seen any demonstrations using the Kinect where it’s actually usable as an instrument? Mostly it’s guys waving their hands to control filter cutoffs or to trigger Ableton loops, and it looks very low-fi and laggy.

              I’m more optimistic about this, because it’s designed as a music solution. iPhone & iPad both are HD on the front-facing lens. More resolution = more precise control over MIDI. Also, consider the effective resolution of capturing someone 6 feet away with a VGA lens vs capturing your hand at a distance of one foot – it logically should offer much more precise control.

              The Leap Motion blows this away in terms of precision, but this looks cheap and useful!

              1. Yes I have seen demonstrations using the Kinect where it’s actually usable as an instrument. I have even played with one and it was really fun, but you have to be really precise, like playing on a Theremin, which is why most people uses it just to control filter cutoffs or to trigger loops.

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izNeyItyjbs
                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHFJJRbBoLw

                “iPhone & iPad both are HD on the front-facing lens. More resolution = more precise control over MIDI”

                Only the Iphone5 and the Ipad Air, every older Iphones and Ipads only have a front facing VGA 640×480 resolution, which does not sense depth like the Kinect does. Also Kinect for Windows has a 1280×960 resolution (higher than the Xbox Kinect).

                I’m not trying to argue that this thing by IK will be bad. Actually I think it will be pretty fun and probably much much more precise than AirVox (the hand tracking synth from Yonac). I can’t wait to see a demonstration video.

                1. >but you have to be really precise, like playing on a Theremin, which is
                  >why most people uses it just to control filter cutoffs or to trigger loops.

                  Most people use it for that stuff because in the end, motion control doesn’t offer anything new to the user. That hand motion is still getting mapped to the same parameters on the same instruments that we control now with a knob or a fader or a touch pad or a foot switch or a key or whatever. Nothing at all new or “better” can possibly come out of a motion control device. Even the argument that you can control multiple parameters at once is crap, because you can map multiple parameters right now to one controller. For instance, the zones/pads in Alchemy, and the macro controls in Massive, which control any number of patch parameters from one source.

                  The fiddly behavior could be tuned. It’s just mapping a set of position data to a range of values and determining the speed at which they will change. Decrease the rate, more control, but it doesn’t alleviate the user from the need to hold a hand in a particular way for extending times. So you can pick between fiddly fast reaction time, or fiddly hold your arm in limited positions for extended times. It’s a pile of suck either way, in my book.

                  And don’t get fooled that a better camera or more clock cycles will improve things. Even when you use multiple camera set ups and multicore computers in professional mocap rooms you will spend days cleaning up the captured data to get something usable in real-time. Doing it on the fly is always going to incorporate sacrifices.

                2. noone – I’m with you, this looks interesting but I’d really like to see a performance video that’s impressive.

                  The problem with the Kinect is that it’s nowhere near precise enough to do what a theremin could do 80 years ago. I checked out the links you provided and the demos really aren’t remotely musical.

                  I suspect the IK system could have some of the same issues, but to a lesser degree than the Kinect.

                  The fact that you use the iRing very close to the camera and can make better use of the camera’s field of view should allow you to fairly accurately position your hand within a 1280×720 grid, which seems promising.

                  But yeah – I want to see this in action, making music!

            2. “Resolution is 640×480 on both the Kinect and the front camera on every apple products except those released in the last few months….I don’t think you really know what you are talking about”

              The Kinect camera is 1280×1024 – the resolution is dependent on the frame rate. It is pretty useless at anything higher than 640×480, though, because of the low frame rate it can capture.

              The last three iPhones have 720p front-facing cameras, along with iPads starting with the iPad 4.

              So when you say “I don’t think you really know what you are talking about”, you are coming across as completely uninformed.

              1. “The Kinect camera is 1280×1024 – the resolution is dependent on the frame rate.”

                Oh, I see you are still confusing the XBox Kinext and Windows Kinect… I’m sorry.

                “The last three iPhones have 720p front-facing cameras, along with iPads starting with the iPad 4. ”

                Oh sorry I was incorrect about that, let me rephrase it : Resolution is 640×480 on both the Kinect and the front camera on every apple products except those released in after November 2012.

                I wish I could be like you and never make mistakes ever. The point was that only recent Apple devices have 720p front cameras.

  2. Hello, I’m a developer of OrigaMIDI, a motion sensitive MIDI controller. It requires nothing else except a printer, and can control any iOS synth capable of MIDI learning, as well as a myriad of other cool features. The lite version is free, so check out our demo!

    http://www.origaMIDI.com

    1. I think it’s really poor form to advertise in the comments section of a competitive product. Doesn’t increase my interest in your company at all.

      1. I think it’s poor form to sell a piece of plastic with three dots on it for $25 and call it a “breakthrough technology”.

      2. I think it’s poor form form for IK to spew their usual hyperbole all over the internet. They are claiming this is a first for iOS, when it is not.

    2. Maybe you should have gotten a patent for the idea? Are you sueing them anyway? 🙂

      I really hate it when big companies copy ideas of unknown small businesses which never had the chance to place the product as efficiently.

  3. IK has a long history now of releasing cheap stuff for the iPad while they don’t update much of their higher quality computer based software. A shame really since their computer based stuff is really pretty good. They have also been selling the not updated versions for really cheap and not letting people know that they either won’t work on their system or they promise updates soon that never come to pass. Hate to see a really good company choose the quick buck over quality…

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    1. It seems like there are a few people that always down vote everything (ecxcept their own comments).

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  4. The outlook for this is not so good imo. I preordered this, recieved the hardware, but the actual software required to use the iRing is still not released and IK Multimedia has links to the iOS software on their web page which leads you to a blank page in the App Store. This kinda gives me the impression they never got this working well as they would be a bit more big on the release info. IK pretty much sucks in general. I bought iRig mixer way back which is actually good for the price but it led me to think their other stuff is good and it’s jnot. iKeys was crap that didn’t work right and their software is bulky, expensive and still makes you purchase IAPs. I almost regret givng them the measly $25 for this right now as i ordered in January and only just got the thing (I was charged in January – crowdfunding). I contacted their support about the software but got typical vague response i did when i contacted them about iKeys not working. I’m pretty sure if the software ever does come out for this it’s gonna suck hard but i kinda hope it does as that’ll be it for me and crappy IK stuff. Stick woth Korg apps and other well known branded hardware.

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