Sony announced mocopi, a Bluetooth body tracking kit launching soon in Japan.
The kit includes 6 trackers: 2 for your wrists, 2 for your ankles, 1 for your hip, and 1 for your head – though presumably the head tracker isn’t needed in VR mode.
Each tracker features an inertial measurement unit (IMU) containing an accelerometer and gyroscope. The data is fed into a skeletal model to produce a plausible (but imperfect) full-body pose estimate based on the relative rotations & forces of each tracker. IMU-based systems require per-user calibration, are subject to drifting, and don’t give the same quality as true positional tracking systems like SteamVR “Lighthouse”. The advantage, however, is that they don’t require expensive base stations.
VRChat CTO Jesse Joudry said mocopi will enable full body tracking on standalone headsets without needing a PC, but the exact details of this integration have yet to be announced. An SDK for other developers to integrate mocopi will be released on December 15th.
IMU-based body tracking systems have existed for years, though current systems are expensive. Mocopi is the first of a new wave of systems targeted at consumers & mainstream creators. Pico plans to release its own ‘Fitness Band’ next year, Panasonic’s subsidiary Shiftall plans to ship HaritoraX in the next few months, and open source community project SlimeVR expects to ship in December.
Mocopi looks to be much sleeker and more practical to use than those other solutions though. Each tracker weighs just 8 grams, and they all slot into an included charging case instead of needing to be charged separately. Sony claims the trackers last around 10 hours and take around 1.5 hours to recharge. And while HaritoraX and SlimeVR require a PC, mocopi trackers communicate with a smartphone app via Bluetooth. Only iPhone 12 and above and recent Sony Xperia phones are officially supported, but other modern phones may work.
Preorders for mocopi open in mid-December for 49500 yen (around $350) for shipping in late January. There’s no indication of a release outside Japan.