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Sixense Heads to Kickstarter, Teams with Virtuix

Motion tracking hardware and software developer Sixense Entertainment said last week that it plans to launch its new wireless motion tracking platform, the STEM System, as a Kickstarter project on September 12. The company claims this new system will precisely capture the user’s every move, both at the desktop and throughout the living room. The system will be ideal for gaming, virtual reality and other applications that require physical interaction.

"The STEM System platform is an evolutionary step in Sixense motion tracking technology, which has previously powered the Razer Hydra PC gaming controller," the company said. "Advancements for the STEM System platform include much longer range, a wireless, modular form factor, and better tracking performance at all ranges."

The STEM System platform will support up to five wireless motion tracking modules, or STEMs, for full position and orientation tracking of the entire body or other configurations. It's also an open platform, meaning software developers can create content with virtually no restrictions, and device makers can embed STEMs for tracking their own peripherals or wearable devices. The second-generation Sixense SDK covers both the new features, and provides backwards compatibility with games and hardware powered by the previous generation, including Razer's Hydra.

"The STEM System is our first Sixense-branded hardware, and it embodies our vision of the ideal user interface for virtual worlds and digital media," said Amir Rubin, co-founder of Sixense. "The funding and feedback we receive from the Kickstarter project will forge an essential partnership between Sixense and a community that has embraced emerging technologies in gaming and VR. By delivering STEM System developer kits to Kickstarter backers first, we will be able to make a much better consumer product than we could on our own."

Sixense Entertainment is the developer responsible for bringing PlayStation Move control to Valve's Portal 2. Founded in 2007, the company has commercialized ultra-precise motion tracking hardware technology and 3D multi-touch software for gaming, fitness, 3DTV control and other interactive applications. Technologies supported include electromagnetic trackers (Razer Hydra), depth cameras (Intel's upcoming desktop camera) and hybrid inertial/optical systems (PS Move).

Sixense is currently teamed up with Virtuix and Oculus at PAX Prime 2013 to demonstrate a complete VR setup. The demo includes the Oculus Rift HMD for seeing and navigating the virtual environment, the Virtuix Omni "tredmil" for walking, and the STEM system to naturally and intuitively interact with the virtual world thanks to full position and orientation tracking.

"The STEM System creates new possibilities for full motion control in VR," said Jan Goetgeluk, CEO and founder of Virtuix. "Not just walking, as we provide, but hand motions and independent gun tracking. We are excited about this great technology."

The videos below demonstrate the STEM System combined with Oculus Rift using three and four STEM tracking modules. Oh yeah.