Recently I’ve tested magnetic motion capture solutions: Rokoko and Neuron. In whole honesty, I didn’t really see any difference between the two in terms of the quality of motion captured. If anything I was quite impressed by how well they performed. I would say that they get to maybe 80% of high-end optical studio performance. However, having said that there are some serious drawbacks to consider. Firstly, set up time, Rokoko comes in a form of a suit, so you just put it on like a jumpsuit, contrary to Neuron which is made from individual sensors. The sensors are on different stripes that you have to get into right position on your body. Then the suit has to be calibrated in order for the software to recognise where the trackers are. To calibrate series of positions have to be performed in particular sequence in order for the program to recognize the skeleton. This calibration process has to be repeated after some time. The reason for it is that the trackers after some time start to lose positioning and some limbs might start to jitter. To fix this issue re-calibration has to take place. No matter which system is used, even the optical one, the re-calibration will be required at some point during a full day of work.
The reason for re-calibration is related interference, each system whether optical or magnetic can be affected by different types of interference. One thing that causes magnetic systems to lose the tracking is metal, therefore you have to think carefully where you are doing the capture as you might have to re-calibrate it way too often. Things to watch out for are any sort of metal rigs on the ceiling, chairs, cutlery literally anything with metal. Due to ease of Rokoko suit calibration, it might seem like a better option than Neuron, however, there is one thing that currently makes Neuron far more superior over Rokoko - hand tracking functionality. You wouldn't think that hands can make such a difference but they do. I was surprised how much hand gestures can add to expression.
At the moment there doesn’t seem to be a perfect low budget solution that will capture all body parts. I’ll probably stick to Neuron due to hand functionality, however, I have another test to do - streaming mocap into Unity, so let’s see how it performs then ;)
Creative producer, writer, immersive media artist founder of Sensosis
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