Fidget spinners are the current big fad and they're not the only one I've lived through. I've seen pogs (I still have them!), Tamagotchi (still have those, too!), and countless other doodads and toys that were cool one year and played out the next. One company has added a bit of tech to the concept and created a monstrosity that nonetheless has me intrigued: Fidgetly CTRL.
What exactly is Fidgetly CTRL (aside from a concept that makes me question my sanity)? Well yes, it's a fidget spinner. Crammed inside of that fidget spinner are sensors that track acceleration, rotation, and angle. Some LEDs adorn the... arms? (I'm not a fidget spinner expert.) You spin this thing just as any other, but the sensors within can track the spins and the angle of the Fidgetly CTRL device.
Well then, you might say, what is that used for? It connects to your device via Bluetooth. There's a stats tracker that can show you the rotations you've managed kind of like a step-tracking app, but I don't know how useful that would be. Where it might be useful is controlling apps, hence the "CTRL" part of the name. The booth at Play NYC 2017 had two demos going at the same time. The first was a Flappy Bird clone because, well, that's technically easy to do and shows the effect quite easily. The second was a music-remixing program - you could spin the device and speed up, slow down, stop, reverse, warp, and otherwise mess with the music track currently playing in a variety of ways.
I've poked a good bit of fun at the Fidgetly CTRL (and not without justification). I spent half of my time with the devs laughing and the other half utterly perplexed. Floating around somewhere in the background of my mind was the idea that this was - despite my uneasiness at the ludicrous nature of the product - nonetheless a unique, portable motion controller with a battery that can last for a pretty damn long time. Yes, they have a developer SDK (one of many facts that made me laugh the moment I heard it). Yes, they anticipate that developers will make apps for this device. The scary thing is, I think they might be right. I mean, you can't exactly stuff a Wiimote in your pocket and use it with your phone as easily as you could a fidget spinner.
If for some reason you desire to have one of these devices, you can pre-order one now at fidgetly.com. And just to head off any potential confusion, yes, I assure you that this is indeed a real product. This is not a satire piece, nor is it some sort of elaborate scam (as far as I can tell, anyway.) These guys have actually made this thing and they 110% believe in their crazy little spinny piece of tech. I have held it in my hand. I have seen it working in an environment outside of the direct control of the developers (it was in someone else's hands). It's real, it works, and it makes me feel old, but if you want one you can get one.
What do you think of the Fidgetly CTRL? Can you think of any games where it would be immediately applicable? Would you buy one for yourself? Let us know in the comments below!