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Sony’s new metaverse bet: a wearable that captures your moves

Sony Group’s latest gadget is a set of wearable motion trackers designed to bring users into the metaverse on their smartphones

A women experiences VR virtual reality goggles during the The Dubai Metaverse Assembly at the Emirates Towers, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022. (AP)

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Sony Group Corp’s latest gadget is a set of wearable motion trackers designed to bring users into the metaverse on their phones.

The new Mocopi system consists of six pucks worn around the user’s wrists, ankles, head and hips, used to animate avatars inside various metaverse apps on Sony Android phones or Apple Inc. iPhones. Priced at 49,500 yen ($360) and launching in Japan in January 2023, the Mocopi kit adds to the company’s ventures into virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).

The product is currently listed on Sony Japan's website. These multi-coloured pucks – all labelled to be worn on different parts of a user's body – appear to be no bigger than the dial of a small watch – each sensor weighs about 8g, and is about 3.2 cm in diameter. According to the website, Sony's proprietary algorithm enables full-body tracking in 3D with only a smartphone and the six sensors. The website also has details on the specifications needed in a smartphone for it to be compatible with the Mocopi system.

Users won't need a special suit for motion capture. The sensors can be attached with one hand with the included band or clip. According to the website, the system is completely wireless and hassle-free. The system will be accompanied by a smartphone app, which will support various file formats. Users will also be able to carry out the motion capture exercise outdoors.  

Tokyo-based Sony has made a big push to expand its gaming empire beyond its traditional strength of console games with more peripherals for PC and mobile gaming. The company also has the PlayStation VR headset and a successor in the offing, both designed to develop an ecosystem of VR experiences along the lines envisioned by Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta Platforms Inc., which he renamed the company after.

Metaverse and VR applications have failed to break through to mainstream audiences so far, occupying only a niche of the global gaming and peripherals market. Sony’s betting on being able to drive this segment with its PlayStation brand and software development talent.

(With inputs from Bloomberg)

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