The trend of gadgets that rethink the physical ways we make music is continuing with a little wearable device called Music Fingers. It literally puts music at your fingertips, and lets you tap out beats on any surface.
It’s a clip-like device that’s goes on your finger, and sort of looks like any pulse reader you’d see in a hospital. The clip then connects to the Music Fingers app on your smartphone via Bluetooth, where sounds or loops can be assigned to the clip’s two buttons. Once that’s done, start playing by tapping away.
A note on crowdfunding:
Crowdfunding is a chaotic field by nature: companies looking for funding tend to make big promises. According to a study run by Kickstarter in 2015, roughly 1 in 10 “successful” products that reach their funding goals fail to actually deliver rewards. Of the ones that do deliver, delays, missed deadlines, or overpromised ideas mean that there’s often disappointment in store for those products that do get done.
The best defense is to use your best judgment. Ask yourself: does the product look legitimate? Is the company making outlandish claims? Is there a working prototype? Does the company mention existing plans to manufacture and ship finished products? Has it completed a Kickstarter before? And remember: you’re not necessarily buying a product when you back it on a crowdfunding site.
It’s just one example of a weirdo gadget for making beats — and there have been a lot of attempts at making these kinds of gadgets. There’s Oddball, which is an actual bouncy ball that’s also a drum machine. There’s multiple companies making MIDI rings for performing effects like vibrato with hand gestures. There’s also multiple glove-like devices that turn your hands into instruments (including Imogen Heap’s Mi.Mu gloves). And there’s all-in-one handheld devices like Orba that act as a synth, looper, and controller.
Physical, gesture-based gadgets for music-making is actually a pretty competitive space. They vary in quality from useful to gimmick — but none been around long enough for the market to sort out which ones will stick. The new form factors can be pretty fun, though.
Most of these companies focus on one of two goals: making the act of producing music accessible to non-musicians, or enabling musicians to have more expressive control while performing. Music Fingers falls into camp one. They say their little thimble-like devices play into the intuitive gesture of tapping along to a song. While it’s an interesting concept, it ultimately feels like a one-trick pony that has the potential to become frustrating for non-musicians, especially when multiple units come into play. And, at about $70 for two, it’s pricey considering its limited functions.
It could be wild to see a finger drummer go ham on a track using several Music Fingers.
If tapping away with a pair of Music Fingers sounds like a fun way to turn yourself into a human drum machine, they can be pre-ordered on Kickstarter starting at €64 ($70).