I have been playing around with this for a week now, so time for a review.
The Factotum is a small device for sensing magnetic fields.
It comprises of a tiny sensor wired to a small and easily concealed box.
The unit vibrates like a mobile phone when the sensor comes within range of a magnetic field.
The sensitivity and frequency of the vibration can be altered.
Strapping the thing under my arm, with the sensor strapped to my wrist, instantly made me feel like Spiderman!
Twiddling with the rather twiddley knobs set the whole thing up and running in a few seconds.
First thing to say is - it works, and it is very sensitive.
Obviously with a utility device like this - the sky is the limit. It really does stimulate the imagination and gets you thinking of potential uses, or of more effective ways of performing a few old standards.
The other big positive for me is that it does not cost an arm and leg. In fact, the price is quite remarkable. At £60 you really cannot complain. I never buy electronic devices as they are priced outside of my range. Sure, if I were a professional working every night (which I have no desire to do), such an outlay would be justified. However, most people who are interested in our art, do not fall into this category, and as such, the Factotum will be an affordable introduction to the 'fuck, I've forgotten my batteries' world of electronic effects.
I must say, it brought out the little boy in me (which, frankly is not difficult) and I have been having a lot of fun with the thing.
Negatives? Well, none really and at the price asked, it would be churlish to present any.
However, there is room for development for Factotum 2.0 (!). First, it is a little fiddly unscrewing the back of the unit to get to the tuning 'things'. As the unit is very sensitive and seems a little unstable, it does require a lot of retuning in my experience. So, the ability to retune without having to take the back off would be very welcome. Secondly, I am sure that Tomo has something lined up for a follow up book.
Now, this is not a criticism, as half of the fun for many of us will be thinking of potential uses for the unit. However, it screams out for an expanded book. First of all, I am sure many would appreciate more detail on different methods of wearing/concealing the device. Not that it is hard to figure this out, but there could be many additional applications with a little thought down this road. Also, I am sure a compilation of ideas and routines will be inevitable.
I am have mentioned before - but if Ellusionist had this puppy, there would be so ghastly wannabe white rapper 'going down' on it. So, we can be thankful for small mercies. But a video or accompanying DVD would really 'shift a few units' here.
Any of this would have put the price up from the very appealing £60. So, I am glad they were not implemented -I guess. So more of a wish list than a criticism.
What would be TRULY fantastic would be if the sensor communicated to the vibration unit remotely. This would open up some serious applications - imagine if the sensor was housed in a ring, communicating remotely to the unit strapped to your arm!
Another potential use would be to house the vibrating unit in ladies underwear. However, I have no intention to go into more detail on my ideas in this area of application.
So, to sum up - a big thumbs up -worth every penny of what is an incredible price, especially considering it's potential uses. You even get the batteries and a few free magnets ferchristsake! Also, it is something that you can actually use. Now, that is quite rare these days.
So a fantastic piece of kit, and I can only hope that Tomo gets his soldering iron out again soon.