Sony is no different from the other well-known IT companies in wanting a piece of the metaverse action. The business unveiled Mocopi on Tuesday, a motion-tracking device that converts a person’s bodily gestures into animation in a virtual environment.
Mocopi employs six wireless trackers placed on the wrists, ankles, head, and back to record a user’s movement in real time. It is named for its capability to capture motion. Each of the color-coded trackers is roughly the size and form of an Apple AirTag, and for convenient wearing, they are connected to stretchy bands and a jeans clip. A dedicated smartphone app receives data from the trackers’ small sensors as the user travels about using an algorithm.
As of right moment, it appears that Sony’s Mocopi smartphone app simply functions as a motion-tracking system demonstration. In-sync 3D avatar dances that can be recorded and replayed afterwards are seen in the company’s promotional video. But according to a press announcement from Sony in Japanese, a software development kit (SDK) will be made available in the middle of December. The SDK will enable programmers to construct interactive fitness and community experiences by fusing Mocopi’s motion-tracking with metaverse services and 3D programming tools.
Sony says it would eventually work at partnering with other businesses to develop exclusive Mocopi experiences, though it hasn’t yet made any concrete plans official. Third parties might integrate Mocopi with headset-centered experiences to become more immersive and allow “new” movements like kicks—something portable controllers can’t enable—instead of relying on cumbersome controls to move around in a virtual reality (VR) world.
Mocopi costs 49,500 yen, which is roughly $356. Even if that isn’t excessively pricey on its own, it’s a bit much for something that probably only functions with a select few games that don’t use VR headsets. You’re looking at a really pricey setup with a headset: Mocopi, a VR headset, and a console or PC might cost hundreds of dollars altogether. Despite this, the technology is still amazing because it is simpler to focus when you are not holding a lot of equipment.
In the end, Mocopi’s success will be determined by how many virtual experiences it can support. Even if the metaverse completely fails—which hasn’t been looking well lately—the virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) businesses would welcome Mocopi. Real-time motion tracking equipment like Mocopi may be of interest to animators as well because it (ideally) helps to reveal people’s natural movements.