One of the main barriers which prevent users of ability switches creating truly expressive music comes from one of the the intrinsic properties of the switch itself. An ability switch is purely digital in terms that it can be in only two states; on or off. This has obvious restrictions when it comes to expressing oneself musically. We have in the past considered using bend sensors, photo-resistors and such to allow the user more expressive control over the output but anything available “off the shelf” at a reasonable price warrants a closer look. This would include any of the myriad of guitar effects pedals but it also today’s featured device. The Hot Hand 3 Wireless MIDI Controller is a ring that contains a 3-axis accelerometer which translates motion into a dynamic and precise expression signal. This signal can then be applied to a range of effect parameters, including filter sweeps, drive levels, modulation, and wet/dry mixes. The video below demonstrates some of it’s capabilities. If you’re in a hurry skip to 4:00 where he discusses mapping it to Ableton Live.
As you can see from the video the ring is wireless and battery powered. You can select between 3 different motion axes (X, Y, and Z) and it has depth and smoothing controls to allow the adjusting of effect amount and ring sensitivity. This could be very useful when setting it up for different individuals who might have either very limited movement, say just one finger of gross movement with little fine motor control. Finally you can use up to 4 separate Hot Hand units simultaneously without any interference. For more information see the SourceAudio website.