My leather-crafter mage is enchanting a whip to attack and constrict by itself.
The core enchantment is:
As a Snake, ReAn. Base 5; Move an animal product quickly in any direction you please, even if not supported. It seems appropriate.
R: Per, T: Self, D: Conc (+1)
For the enchantment effect: Maintain conc. (+5), unlimited use (+10), restricted use (+3) (so nobody else can order the whip to strike).
Final enchantment level: 28.
Then it dawn to me: when the mage is not touching the magical item, how does he give new order ? A R: Touch spell that allows to control a target let the mage change the control as long as he is touching the target. If he let go of the target, assuming a longer duration, the target will keep moving according to the last order (for example to float upwards) and will keeping doing so until the mage can touch again the target and re-issue an order. R: Voice spells are controlled as long as the mage remains within Voice range.
But with R: Per in an item, how does it work ?
By default, magic items must be held to be triggered.
It's logical to assume the same applies to control of a magical item or the effects it produces, though it's not spelled out clearly. Keep in mind that magic items aren't the same as spells with regards to control. With a spell, the caster is the origin of the magic and thus mental control is assumed even at range. With an item, the item is the origin and it requires physical action by the user to activate and control.
The 'legal' way to have non-contact control is to imbue a linked trigger (such as an InIm effect to let the whip 'hear' verbal commands or an InMe effect to read the activator's mind) to control the item. But then you're into a Greater Device with multiple enchantments.
Whilst the default is that magic items are only triggered if you're holding them, I don't think you necessarily need to go to great lengths to change away from the default - otherwise magical traps would become much more difficult. Linked / environmental triggers are required when you want something that isn't a standard physical action (e.g. mind reading, astrological changes), but verbal commands are explicitly included in the standard list of activations on page 98 of the core book - it's just usually you set up your Pilum of Fire wand so it only goes off when you say Burn, not when anyone standing nearby you does.