December 2, 2022
The industry is buzzing about a new Sony product called Mocopi that offers motion capture priced for consumers. The Meta Quest-compatible Mocopi utilizes six tracking bands to be worn on the head, back, hands and feet. Priced at 49,500 yen (or about $358), Sony announced Mocopi on its Japanese YouTube channel, with a U.S. release expected toward the end of January 2023. Touted as a way to operate avatars in the metaverse or make videos, Mocopi will have an SDK that can import motion data into 3D animations.
Mocopi’s color-coded, lightweight motion sensors leverage proprietary technology, relying on a dedicated smartphone app to capture the data, writes Engadget.
“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,” Sony says, according to Engadget.
In two weeks, Sony will release a software developer kit that can integrate the motion capture with metaverse environments and digital video, not unlike platforms such as Unity, Epic Games’ Unreal Engine and Autodesk’s 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,” Engadget quotes Sony saying.
In a YouTube video, Sony demonstrates how users can pair the sensors with the app and calibrate them. “From there, you can start dancing or do other movements and see the in-app avatars ape your actions,” Engadet explains, noting a second video showing avatar animations.
“Sony plans to capitalize on the rise in popularity of VTubers — virtual YouTube (and sometimes Twitch) celebrities — and our slow but steady transition to a life spent entirely in VR,” Gizmodo reports.
Sony has already released PlayStation VR headsets for immersive gaming. This new focus on the metaverse “augurs well,” writes Yahoo Finance, calling it “the next big thing in the tech space.”
“Simply put, metaverse means people can connect with each other’s avatars in a shared and immersive virtual space using technologies like artificial intelligence and augmented and virtual reality,” Yahoo Finance says, citing a Grand View Research report indicating the metaverse is expected to see a CAGR of 39.4 percent between 2022 and 2030.