Sony has launched an interesting product called Mocopi, consisting of six motion-tracking bands worn on your hands, feet, back and head, with a price of 49,500 yen (about $358). The aim is to let you track your body to create videos or operate avatars in real time with metaverse apps like VRChat. It even offers an SDK that lets you import motion data into 3D animation apps.
Apparently a play on the term “mocap,” (motion capture) Mocopi’s six color-coded, lightweight motion sensors use “proprietary technology and a smartphone” with a dedicated app, according to Sony. “Normally, video production using motion capture requires dedicated equipment and operators,” Sony wrote. “By utilizing our proprietary algorithm, ‘Mocopi’ realizes highly accurate motion measurement with a small number of sensors, freeing VTubers [virtual YouTubers] and creators involved in movie and animation production from time and place constraints.”
On December 15th, Sony will provide a software development kit (SDK) that links the motion capture data with metaverse services, along with the real-time development platform Unity and Autodesk’s animation/mocap app MotionBuilder. “This SDK expands the use of motion data for activities such as full-body tracking, thereby facilitating the development of new services in areas such as the metaverse and fitness.”
In a how-to video (below), Sony shows how you can pair the sensors with the app, strap them to your body and calibrate them. From there, you can start dancing or do other movements and see the in-app avatars ape your actions. A second video showcasing some avatar animations (above) looks good, but does reveal typical motion capture issues like jitter and foot sliding.
It’s an ambitious product aimed at not only people interested in the metaverse, but animation professionals and filmmakers as well. Sony notes that you can use existing VRM avatars and export recorded videos in the MP4 format, provided you have a device with iOS 15.7.1 or Android 11. Reservations are set to start in mid-December 2022 and it will go on sale in late January 2023, but there’s no word yet on North American availability.