Sony enters the Metaverse with the motion tracking system “Mocopi”.

Sony has launched an interesting product called Mocopi, which consists of six motion-tracking bands worn on the hands, feet, back and head, priced at 49,500 yen (about $358). The goal is that you can track your body to create videos or serve 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 nod to 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. “Typically, motion capture video production requires dedicated equipment and operators,” Sony wrote. “By using our proprietary algorithm, ‘Mocopi’ realizes highly accurate motion measurement with a small number of sensors, freeing VTubers [virtual YouTubers] and creators involved in film and animation production due to time and space constraints.”

On December 15, Sony will provide a software development kit (SDK) that links the motion capture data to Metaverse services, along with Autodesk’s real-time development platform Unity and animation/mocap app MotionBuilder. “This SDK expands the use of motion data for activities like full-body tracking, thereby facilitating the development of new services in areas like metaverse and fitness.”

In an instructional video (below), Sony shows how to pair the sensors with the app, strap them to your body and calibrate them. From there, you can start dancing or performing other moves and watch the in-app avatars mimic your actions. A second video showing some avatar animations (above) looks good but shows typical motion capture issues like jitter and foot slide.

It’s an ambitious product aimed not only at people interested in the metaverse, but also at animation professionals and filmmakers. Sony notes that you can use existing VRM avatars and export recorded video in MP4 format, provided you have a device running iOS 15.7.1 or Android 11. Reservations will begin mid-December 2022 and it will go on sale later going January 2023, but there’s no word on North American availability yet.

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