Have you ever seen a motion capture suit that allows you to gather how someone is moving their whole body? Now you can get one for yourself. Noitom, a China-based motion-capture firm, will soon be offering Perception Neuron, a do it yourself full-body motion capture system that starts at under $1,000. Wondering how you would use one of these suits? They can be used for game and video design, visual effects, sports medicine analysis, and of course for a full virtual reality experience.
The system started off as Kickstarter project and more than doubled their campaign goal. 1,329 backers donated a total of $571,908 to make the project happen.
How does the Perception Neuron work?
The system detects motion by utilizing lightweight sensors that are barely 12mm square. These sensors capture your gestures and body movements and reflect them in your virtual world for an immersive experience. The sensors are attached to the your body either via the straps designed by Noitom or attached to your body directly. You can have up to 32 sensors attached to your body in any position that is needed to capture data. The sensors can be moved around the suit as needed. The Perception Neuron comes with black gloves that have the fingertips cut off and the versatile sensors placed on each of the fingers of the glove.
The makers of the motion capture suit boast that there are an unlimited number of combinations in which the sensors can be applied. You can also remove sensors to limit data should you want less data.
Data from the sensors is exported to the connected computer using BVH format so that it can be easily saved and edited. It is designed to be used with common programs such as BVHplay or MotionBuilder. Noitom also has designed its own software called Perception Axis software. You can find more programs on the internet that can read BVH format files and may be capable of working with the Noitom motion capture suit.
What kind of movement trackers are in this device?
Each Neuron in the Perception Neuron system is capable of capturing precise movement from one of four sensors: an Inertial Measurement Unit, a gyroscope, an accelerometer, and a magnetometer. All of these sensors are packed into a body that is less than the size of a penny.
Can I use a Perception Neuron with a friend?
Multiple people can use the Perception Neuron at the same time, making it possible to capture fight scenes or dance scenes with outstanding quality. Each person’s sensors relay to a WiFi hub that is powered by USB. And there is no need to worry about compatibility, the system works with both Mac or Windows. The SDK for the sensors is also available for those who wish to use the motion capture suit with Unity.
Where can I buy a Perception Neuron?
The devices themselves are in the pre-order status for those that didn’t participate in the Kickstarter. For those looking to order the devices, about 300 devices ship out to early-bird purchasers. Then they start shipping in July or August of 2015. Shipping is expected to take up to two weeks to arrive at your address. You can pre-order from their website. Once in the hands of the agency of transportation, shipping will take between one and two weeks to reach their final destination.
How much will it cost?
There is a selection of options for those looking to get a motion capture experience from the Perception Neuron. The full body suit under $1,000 is $999.00 and comes with 18 Neurons, that is enough to capture your main body’s motion but not that of your hands. It comes with 18 Neurons, 1 hub, an anti-MAG Neuron Container, a full body strap, and a collection of dummy Neurons. This package is available for students at a $200 discount making it $799.00.
If you want the full suit with full hand sensing it is going to run you $1,499, but if you are a student you get a $300 discount on this package. This package comes with everything you need to capture the full body movement of one actor: 32 Neuron sensors, 1 hub, 2 anti-mag Neuron container, a full body strap, right and left hand straps, base gloves in each size, and a collection of dummy Neurons.
For those that are just interested in capturing the hands there is a $100 package that comes with one hand strap and a $200 package that comes with two. These two packages are great if you are looking to capture detailed motion of the hand but do not need the whole body. For example if you are trying to catch someone’s fingers as they play the piano or medically see how their hand is moving. Unfortunately there is no academic discount listed for the hand sensors but they are already incredibly inexpensive, only a fraction of the price of the body suit.
With the price for a full suit just over $1000 and being able to capture the body’s motion at just under $1000 Noitom has introduced an option for motion capture that will work for just about anyone. The system is very versatile and can be used for just about any purpose.
Images are courtesy of Noitom / Perception Neuron