Sony Japan introduces “mocopi”, six small sensor strips that can record the movement of metaverse avatars and VTubers.
3D VTubing has often lagged behind its “2D” counterpart due to a gap in technology and cost. However, Sony’s new Mocopi device has been heralded as a game changer for motion tracking, lowering the barrier to entry on both fronts.
VTubing takes many forms, but 3D models are scarce. While some streamers have 3D-style models, not many use full motion tracking technology in their broadcasts.
You may see full motion tracking on the biggest stages, such as during a concert with big agency names like Hololive and NIJISANJI. But ordinary streaming has thrived with Live2D and PNG models.
However, Sony’s latest innovation, the Mocopi, could fill that gap. It has been announced as a game changer for VTuber motion tracking, making 3D models more accessible than ever.
— Sony Group – Japan (@SonyGroup_JP) November 29, 2022
It works by placing six trackers on the head, both arms, hips and both legs. These trackers are super lightweight at 8 grams each and, according to promotional material, provide relatively realistic 3D tracking at a fraction of the cost. They don’t even require external base stations.
Sony has even marketed it to TV fans, with a smartphone app that allows users to record their movements on a model within the program. This can be sent to external software such as VRChat and Unity, which is the basis for many tracking programs.
“Absolutely huge,” VShojo CTO @MowtenDoo said on Twitter. “We use enterprise-level tracking stuff for the most part, but this (supposedly) lowers the cost of entry for mocap / 3D VTubing by a lot and makes it more accessible.”
“VTubers can finally do full-body streaming out of their house with this technology…” said streamer ‘Mao’. “Think of the uses this could be put to, for cooking, dancing, sleeping, training, playing weed, all with your avatar.”
Reckon you'll use it? What for 👀
— Ducky ✍️ VTuber Journalist (@dvckyVT) November 29, 2022
Sony’s Mocopi is expected to go on sale at the end of January 2023 for 49,500 Japanese yen, about $360.
It’s simple to use: you download a dedicated smartphone app, connect to the sensors via Bluetooth and you’re ready to record your movements.
The captured movement can be saved to local storage on your smartphone or PC.
Currently, mocopi is compatible with VRChat, Unity, MotionBuilder and Virtual Motion Capture.
Although the functionality and compatibility of the sensors are currently limited, they have the potential to become an important tool for making metaverse avatars more human-like and able to mimic realistic expressions and movements. This would increase the overall sense of expressiveness and engagement in the virtual world.
Sony and Web3
This year it partnered with NFT Technologies to link live sports data to the vast potential of the sports NFT market.
It also acquired Beyond Sports, which will help provide end-to-end sports data and metaverse services to Sony customers.
And most recently it filed a patent revealing its intentions to embrace NFT and blockchain technology, most likely for its PlayStation video game platform.
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