Sony’s mocopi motion capture system is arriving in the US, boosting a nascent mobility-focused ecosystem for virtual reality (VR).
The stylish package of wearable sensors and a dedicated smartphone app expands possibilities for VTubers and VR creators on the move.
Mocopi was first announced in November 2022, but initial shipments were restricted to the Japanese market. The product’s arrival on US shores in July 2023 comes at a price of $449, and it is sold exclusively on the Sony US website. Preorders were accepted starting June 29, 2023 and customer shipping will begin on July 14, 2023.
Mocopi – ‘mocap’ for the masses
Sony produces consumer electronics with mass-market charm, and mocopi fits right into that ethos. Mocopi is mobile capture (mocap) for the masses, as it democratizes full-body tracking for VR experiences. Critics may consider it underpowered for hard-core VR, but mocopi has a critical differentiator: mobility.
The device includes six small lightweight sensors measuring 1.26” in diameter and 0.46” in thickness and weighing only 8 grams. The sensors use Bluetooth to connect to a smartphone running an app that is downloadable from the Apple App Store or Google Play. Guaranteed compatible devices include newer Apple iPhones and Sony Xperia models, though other Android smartphones may also work. Being able to create content or engage in VR anytime in more locations than they can with traditional full-body tracking solutions means creators can kiss the studio goodbye – at least for their basic VR mocap needs.
More Than an avatar
Mocopi includes a lot of impressive built-in functionalities. It can by synced with a Meta Quest/Quest 2 headset, enabling a user to add full-body tracking to their avatar on the VRChat social gaming platform. In fact, there is a mocopi world within VRChat that provides users with tutorials and content.
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Recorded avatar movies also can be exported as mp4 files or motion data from the mobile app, and mocopi is capable of integrating its captured motion data with 3D development software supporting immersive experiences. The mocopi software development kit includes receiver plugins for Unity, MotionBuilder, and Unreal Engine toolkits, with the required PC specs being determined by the specific software.
Sony previously opened its mocopi developer site on May 18, 2023. The Sony Handycam VHS camera helped bring video photography to the masses throughout the 1980s and 1990s, even prompting the development of citizen journalism. Like the Handycam, mocopi is a consumer-grade product. The device may not have all the functionality of a pricier VR motion capture system, but what it does have is mobility and a foundation of capabilities that Sony can build upon.