Motion Capture In Virtual Reality

Accurately pinpointing the user’s body motion and translating it to a virtual avatar is no easy feat in Virtual Reality (VR). Because of this challenge, users are still very limited in their interactions and experiences in VR environments. Motion capture’s integration with VR actively tackles this issue head-on, adding layers of realism and interactivity to the user experience. This not only elevates the engagement of users but also widely expands VR’s use cases and relevance to a plethora of industries.

The Rapid Advances in Virtual Reality

Virtual reality has developed rapidly in recent years, becoming an increasingly large niche within gaming – to the point that mainstream tech giants like Sony, Meta and Apple are investing heavily in the space. Studies show that there are over 170 million VR users globally, an approximately 10 million increase since last year. This number is projected to rise as VR technologies keep getting progressively better each year – with innovations such as:

  • The integration of haptic feedback – allows players to feel the sensation of touch through vibrations, similar to how console controllers vibrate to deepen immersion. 
  • Wireless and computer-free headsets – nothing ruins a VR experience like tripping on wires in the real world.
  • 5G integration for a lag-free gaming experience.
AXIS - an untethered full-body tracking system
Advancements like these have certainly enhanced VR experiences, gaining more mainstream recognition among gamers and expanding its adoption to other industries such as film, training and real estate. However, these advancements still restrict user interactions to audiovisual experiences (with the occasional vibration). This is where motion capture comes in; breaking the ceiling of interactivity – allowing users to physically exist in and manipulate virtual worlds.
Motion Capture Makes VR More Immersive and Realistic
Motion capture (mocap) records natural human movement and interaction and accurately replicates it within a virtual environment. In doing so, it animates avatars in the virtual environment to move and behave realistically. It brings a sense of presence to the virtual environment creating a more immersive and interactive experience. This heightened involvement has empowered VR users and opened new avenues, including:
  • Enhanced engagement for VR gamers – As a gamer, mocap enables active physical participation rather than merely sitting, controller in hand while wearing a headset. Players can now perform a variety of actions, such as actively dodging, throwing, jumping, and so on.
  • Realistic and safe training – Motion capture helps to translate natural, real-world interactions to a virtual environment, which is especially useful when simulating dangerous situations. As a result, users can practice risky real-world tasks such as combat training, firefighting and surgery with more precision.
  • Improved spatial awareness – When exploring environments in first-person, motion capture enhances a user’s understanding of space and depth in the virtual environment. Hollywood has already used this when planning to film in CGI environments.
  • Extended, immersive expression – Motion capture extends VR use cases to animation and content creation. It enables VR to be a creative tool for creating realistic animated characters, whether for an animated film or in the comfort of VR Chat.
Motion capture enriches VR, giving it more authenticity, expressiveness, and depth. At the basic level, mocap is implemented by tracking the head and hand movements with sensors in a VR headset and hand nodes/controllers. We can take this to the next level, where players can use their entire bodies as game controllers with full-body motion trackers such as the AXIS.
Explore New Levels of Immersion in VR with Dynamic Motion Capture through AXIS
AXIS (Active XR Interface System) is a wireless user-friendly full-body tracking system for VR, built to empower users to experience a whole new level of immersion in virtual environments.
To achieve this, AXIS has up to 16 interchangeable nodes for full-body tracking and over 9 degrees of freedom to deliver accurate measurements (<1mm). Full body tracking and accuracy allow you to work with a more realistic and nuanced VR avatar. With AXIS, you can accurately capture complex motions and fine details and accurately translate them to a virtual environment.
AXIS delivers more authentic and immersive VR experiences which makes it perfect for:
  • VR Gamers – With AXIS, VR gamers can enhance their experience, using their entire body as a game controller to control each movement, attack, gesture, or any other action of your in-game character in real-time.
  • Content creation – Content creators like Vtubers can express themselves fully – using AXIS’s full body tracking to control their whole avatar. Whether they want to dance, run, or jump, they’ll be in complete control.
AXIS comes user-ready, complete with an easy suit-up and setup. Compatible with a wide range of third-party VR headsets and software such as OpenVR, OpenXR, SteamVR, Unity, and Unreal engine empowers users to deepen their VR experiences. Integrating motion capture tools like AXIS into VR is a promising step toward genuinely bridging the gap between virtual and physical reality.

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