Wednesday, October 21st, 2015 Posted by Jim Thacker

Rokoko Electronics unveils Salto full-body mocap suit

Danish startup Rokoko Electronics has announced the Salto suit: a full-body inertial motion-capture system for just $700, with an optional set of motion-capture gloves for a further $150.

The system has just reached its $100,000 funding target on Kickstarter, but if you get in today, there’s still just time to order at early bird prices, which give a further set of discounts.

Part of a new breed of low-cost inertial capture systems
Like Noitom’s Perception Neuron system, unveiled last year, the Salto suit takes advantage of the falling cost of 9-axis sensors to offer a full-body inertial capture system at a fraction of the price of established rivals.

Unlike Perception Neuron, it’s an actual suit rather than a build-it-yourself system, which makes it slightly more expensive, although still highly affordable for indie developers and freelancers.

A 17-sensor wireless capture system
For that $700, you get a 19-sensor set-up – a configuration similar to Xsens’ 17-sensor MVN system or Synertial’s 15-sensor IGS-150 – each with a data output of 100fps. The gloves contain a further seven sensors.

Both suit and gloves are made of lightweight nylon, and come in three male and three female sizes.

The sensors are arranged on cables like “pearls on a string”, which would restrict the scope for creating custom configurations or capturing props, but the demo images suggest some flexibility in positioning.

You also get a base hub, to which data is streamed either via USB cables, or wirelessly via Wi-Fi. We can’t find a figure for maximum wireless data transmission distance, but it’s usually around 100m for systems of this kind.

Stream or export data to Unity, UE4, Maya and MotionBuilder
The systems come with their own recording and playback software, Salto Studio, which comes with plugins for Unity, UE4, Maya and MotionBuilder and the Oculus Rift and Gear VR headsets, and exports BVH and FBX files.

For anyone needing to stream data to proprietary tools, there is also a C#, C++, Java and Python SDK.

Updated: Rokoko tells us that it is investigating whether raw sensor data can be processed locally on the suit and streamed live into host software, or whether it will have to be pre-processed in Salto Studio first.

It expects its algorithms to resolve joint angles to an accuracy of 1-2 degrees.

In theory, you can track as many suits simultaneously as your hardware can process: Rokoko says that it has tested four systems without problems.

Developed in collaboration with Danish research bodies
As ever with these systems, a crucial factor is how well the algorithms in the software convert raw sensor data into usable information, which will be difficult to tell until the suits can be tested in the field.

However, Rokoko has quite a large team for a start-up – the website lists 18 full-time employees, at least 10 with a background in engineering or 3D – which bodes well for the project.

The Salto systems are also being developed in collaboration with leading Danish research bodies The Technical University of Denmark and The University of Southern Denmark.

Pricing and availability
The first dev kit of the Salto suit costs $700 for the full-body suit alone, or $850 including the gloves. Early adopters on Kickstarter can buy the systems for $600 or $730, respectively. There are also bulk discounts.

Cutely, Kickstarter backers will also get Reptilicus VR, a Rampage-style full-body VR game based on cult/awful 1960s Danish monster movie Reptilicus. Both are due to ship in April 2016.

Read more about the Salto Suit DK1 on the project’s Kickstarter page

Visit the Salto product website
(Not much extra information at time of posting)