Mocopi, named for its motion capture abilities, uses six wireless trackers worn on the wrists, ankles, head, and back to record a user’s movement in real time. The color-coded trackers are each about the size and shape of an Apple AirTag and attach to stretchy bands and a pants clip for easy wearing. As the user moves around, an algorithm translates information from the trackers’ tiny sensors into data received by a dedicated smartphone app.
As of now, it appears Sony’s Mocopi smartphone app serves only as a demo for the system’s motion-tracking capabilities. Its promotional video depicts in-sync 3D avatar dances that can be recorded and played back later. Per Sony’s Japanese press release, however, the company will release a software development kit (SDK) in mid-December. The SDK will allow developers to combine Mocopi’s motion-tracking with metaverse services and 3D development software to create interactive fitness and community experiences.
Though it hasn’t yet confirmed any specific plans, Sony says it will eventually work at partnering with other companies to create exclusive Mocopi experiences. Rather than holding onto bulky controllers to move around in a virtual reality (VR) space, third parties could combine Mocopi with headset-centered experiences to become more immersive and allow “new” movements like kicks—something handheld controllers can’t facilitate.
Mocopi is 49,500 yen, or approximately $356. Though that isn’t prohibitively expensive on its own, it’s a bit much for something that’ll likely only work with a few non-VR headset games. With a headset, you’re looking at quite an expensive setup: Mocopi, a VR headset, and a console or PC can together cost thousands. It’s still cool technology, though, given it’s easier to get into the zone when you aren’t holding a bunch of hardware.
Mocopi’s success will ultimately depend on how many virtual experiences it’s compatible with. The metaverse hasn’t been looking too hot lately, but even if that were to fail entirely, VR and augmented reality (AR) markets might accept Mocopi with open arms. Animators might be interested in real-time motion tracking hardware like Mocopi, too, as it (ideally) helps to reveal people’s natural movements.