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iRing Hands-On: Motion Controller That Fits Between Your Fingers

Motion control continues to permeate throughout the tech world, and the technology is no longer confined to expensive accessories like Microsoft’s Kinect. IK Multimedia’s new iRing, which is set to launch in Q1 2014 for an estimated $25, makes it possible to control an app using hand gestures alone. We went hands-on, literally, with the iRing at IK’s CES 2014 booth.

The iRing set includes two contoured pieces of plastic, which you place between your fingers on each hand, along with a Mac, PC, iOS or Android app. Each "ring," as they call it, has a different arrangement of three black dots to help an iRing-enabled Mac, PC or mobile camera distinguish each hand.

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We tested the iRing on an iPad Air running the iRing Music Maker app, which provides a simple interface for playing electronic music on the fly. Once our hands were within the webcam’s view, we were able to change the volume by moving the right hand towards and away from the screen, and switch up the beat by moving the left hand side to side. The app was fairly accurate at capturing and responding to our gestures, and we liked how easy it was to feel like a DJ for a few brief moments.

While the iRing Music Maker is the only app specifically designed for the iRing accessory, an IK representative noted that any app creator could add iRing support to its software by using the company’s SDK. This opens up a world of possibilities for motion control applications, from a gesture version of Pong to a drawing program for a PC that doesn’t have a touch screen.

We were very impressed with the functionality iRing offers for its low asking price, and we look forward to getting our own pair for a full review.