Rokoko revealed its affordable professional motion capture system, Smartsuit Pro, to decrease the entry costs for high-fidelity motion capture to a point that makes sense for independent studios.
Motion capture is important for video game developers and digital filmmakers, but the hardware isn’t exactly affordable. Traditional professional motion capture studios work with camera-based systems, such as Optitrack, which are incredibly expensive. Such a system will set you back at least $50,000 and it’s not hard for that price to balloon to $100,000 or more. Moreover, those systems demand large, dedicated studio spaces to operate.
As you can imagine, camera-based MoCap solutions are beyond the price range of most indie studios. Unless your studio is owned by a big company like EA or Activision, you probably rent time at a MoCap studio for your motion capture needs. Rokoko aims to bring the cost of motion capture to an affordable price with the Smartsuit Pro.
“Greater and simplified access to mocap will unlock creative possibilities, increase the quality, and lower the costs of 3D animation in film and games,” said Jakob Balslev, CEO, and Founder, Rokoko. “Until now, however, the ability for the vast majority of creative teams to leverage this technology has been simply unattainable. The Smartsuit Pro breaks down all the barriers to entry with a simple, intuitive and cost-effective proposition.”
The Rokoko Smartsuit Pro is a wireless full-body motion system that doesn’t require an external camera tracking system and doesn’t need a dedicated room. It gives you full freedom of motion, and the freedom to capture motion anywhere. All you need is space to move around, a wifi network, and a computer to receive the capture data.
Rokoko isn’t the only company that offers an affordable motion capture system. Cloudhead Games used a Perception Neuron system from Noitom to capture the character movements for its award-winning VR title, The Gallery. And Yost Labs recently started fulfilling pre-orders for the PrioVR dev kits. The Perception Neuron and PrioVR systems are affordable systems, but they aren’t exactly easy to setup. Both systems feature multiple pieces that you must strap onto your body, and each piece is connected via a wire that you must plug in. Rokoko’s is much easier to put on.
The Smartsuit Pro is a full body jumpsuit that you slip into. The suit features an array of 19 embedded 9-degrees of freedom (9-DoF) IMU sensors. The suit includes sensors for your arms, hands, legs, feet, and torso that track your movements with high precision. The sensors connect to a central hub that transmits the captured data to your computer in real-time via WiFi connection.
The Rokoko Smartsuit Pro works with the tools creators use. Rokoko’s MoCap solution is compatible with the Unity and Unreal game engines, so you don’t have to license new software to take advantage of the Smartsuit Pro. It's also compatible with Autodesk MotionBuilder, so it's easy for developers accustomed to working with expensive camera-based MoCap solutions to make the switch.
Rokoko is asking $2,245 for the Smartsuit Pro, which is about 30% more expensive than the Perception Neuron solution and nearly twice as much as the PrioVR dev kit, but those are entry level solutions. Rokoko is positioning the Smartsuit Pro as a viable solution for “high-end studios and mid-range indies.”
Pre-orders for the Smartsuit Pro are open now. Rokoko expects to begin shipping units worldwide in Feburary 2017.
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Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years.