Sony Announces ‘mocopi’ Bluetooth Body Tracking Unit for Japan
Sony has announced a new Bluetooth body motion tracking kit called ‘mocopi’.
The mocopi kit features 6 trackers, two of which are worn on the wrists, two on the ankles, one on the hip, and one on the head. However, the head tracker is presumably not required in the virtual reality mode.
Each of the trackers has an inertial measurement unit (IMU) with an accelerometer and a gyroscope. Data from the trackers is fed into a skeletal model to generate a plausible (though still imperfect) full-body pose estimate which is based on the relative rotations and each of the trackers’ forces. The IMU-based systems need a per-user calibration. They are also affected by drifting and do not provide the same quality of motion tracking that you’d get from positional tracking systems such as the SteamVR “Lighthouse”. However, IMU-based systems do not require costly base stations.
According to VRChat CTO Jesse Joudry, mocopi will offer full body tracking on standalone virtual reality headsets, meaning users won’t need a PC. However, Sony is yet to provide the actual details of the integration. On December 15th, an SDK will be released that will enable other developers to integrate mocopi.
The IMU-based body tracking systems have been around for quite some time but the current ones are quite costly. Sony’s mocopi is the first of such body tracking kits that is aimed at the consumer and mainstream market.
Pico is also planning to release a ‘Fitness Band’ in 2023. Shiftall, a Panasonic subsidiary is also planning to ship its HaritoraX in a few months. The open-source community project SlimeVR should also be shipping this month.
The mocopi body tracking kit appears a lot sleeker and more practical to use compared to the other body tracking solutions currently in use. Every tracker in the kit weighs roughly 8 grams and they can all be slotted into an included charging case rather than being separately charged.
According to Sony, the trackers will also for approximately 10 hours and recharging takes about 1.5 hours. The SlimeVR and HaritoraX tracking kits need a PC. However, the mocopi trackers can connect to a smartphone through Bluetooth.
The kit officially supports the most recent Sony Xperia and iPhone 12 above smartphones. However, it would also work with other modern smartphones.
The mocopi pre-orders will begin in mid-December for $49500 yen (roughly $350) and these pre-orders are set to ship in late January. It is not yet clear whether the kit will be released outside Japan.