Friday, August 29th, 2014 Posted by Jim Thacker

Build a full-body inertial mocap suit for under $400

Chinese motion-capture firm Noitom has announced Perception Neuron: an assemble-it-yourself inertial mocap system that aims to give users a complete full-body capture solution for under $400.

Noitom is currently running a Kickstarter campaign for Perception Neuron, and looks likely to hit its $250,000 funding target: it’s currently reached over $230,000 with two weeks still to go.

Build your own mocap system from a set of lightweight sensors
Perception Neuron enables users to assemble their own capture systems from up to 30 inertial sensors, which may either be attached directly to an actor’s body, or to a more conventional mocap bodysuit or glove.

Each sensor is just 12mm square and 6mm deep, making the system lightweight and portable.

Exports data in BVH format, tracks multiple actors
The sensors transmit data to a USB-powered hub unit via Wi-Fi. The hub exports motion data to a Windows PC or Mac in BVH format, for editing in MotionBuilder or Noitom’s own Perception Axis software.

Noitom is also releasing an SDK for Unity, which should enable developers to write tools to stream motion data directly into the game engine.

The system is capable of tracking multiple actors simultaneously, although you’ll need a separate hub for each person you track. The size of your capture volume is limited only by the range of Wi-Fi reception.

Buy more sensors to refine the data you collect
How much a Perception Neuron system costs depends on how many sensors you want to use.

$200 gets you a 10-sensor package, described as adequate for hand or upper-body tracking; $375 gets you 20 sensors for full-body work; and $550 gets you 30 sensors for simultaneous full-body and dual hand tracking.

For comparison, in its 20-sensor configuration, Perception Neuron would be competing with existing entry-level capture systems such as Xsens’ 17-sensor MVN system or Synertial’s 15-sensor IGS-150.

Neither manufacturer lists its prices publicly, but given that the cost of higher-end systems is an order of magnitude greater than Perception Neuron, we’d expect Noitom’s solution to be substantially cheaper.

More specs on the Kickstarter page
Of course, the value of a mocap system – even such an inexpensive one – depends on the quality of its data: something users will get a better idea of when the first units begin shipping next February.

In the mean time, the Kickstarter page includes more technical specs and an extensive series of replies to backers’ questions. You can check it out via the link below.

Read more about Perception Neuron on the product’s Kickstarter page

Visit Noitom’s website