I confess that when I saw Mictic’s colorful musical bracelets at Mobile World Congress I was not very impressed. These are two simple bands very similar to a FitBit-style sports tracker, but without any type of screen or button. Of course, when you put them on and they come to life in your arms, you can’t help but smile from ear to ear. If you like music, what comes next interests you.
The creators of the Mictic One define them as an augmented reality audio wearable. The definition is one hundred percent correct but perhaps also a bit vague. Explained in simpler words, the Mictic One are two Bkuetooth bracelets equipped with movement sensors. The bracelets connect to a mobile device (only iOS at the moment, but the Android version is under development). From the Mictic application, we can select different musical instruments and control the sound they produce by moving our hands and arms. Think of an Air Guitar on steroids and you’ll get an idea of how they work. This video helps too.
The fact is that to say that the Mictic One is an Air Guitar simulator is an understatement, because the application of this startup created in Zurich does much more than that. To begin with, the range of musical instruments that we can imitate is quite wide and ranges from the cello to percussion or a DJ’s mixing desk. Each instrument requires you to make different movements with your arms and hands that mimic (to some extent) the actual movements you would make with that instrument.
The app allows you to add (and control) background tracks, and even mix various instruments and record the results. In fact, up to four pairs of bracelets can be connected in case you want to form an augmented reality band. There are also a handful of actual songs, and the company is already making deals with different record labels to add many more. In fact the device is being sponsored by Moby. The popular composer has been testing the possibilities of the bracelets when creating music professionally for some time.
It may sound weird, but wearing the Mictic One is an experience that is as frustrating as it is exciting. It’s frustrating because getting something out that sounds good is harder than it looks. It is not enough to wave your arms like a crazed ape. You have to move with precision and smoothness. Luckily, each instrument has a video tutorial in which we can learn the basic movements. It’s exciting because when you learn to make them sound the feeling is extremely satisfying.
Soon we will be able to offer you an in-depth review of the device, but the first impression is that they are incredibly fun. The Mictic One (sold as a pair and with a double USB-C cable to charge them both at the same time) are already on sale from the company’s website at a price of 139 Swiss francs (about 135 euros). In the future, the company plans to extend the platform so that it can be used with other devices that do not have the necessary motion sensors, such as mobile phones or smart watches. As a device for teaching music to children it has spectacular potential.