Become an anime girl for real with Sony’s new “mocopi” device

The world of expressing oneself through a virtual avatar has expanded considerably over the course of the last few years, what with the rise of VTubers, virtual reality socialisation software, full body tracking hardware and all manner of other shenanigans. With their new “mocopi” system, Sony wants to take things to a whole new level, with wireless full body tracking that can be used out and about in the real world rather than being chained to a computer.

The system consists of six small colour-coded circular sensors which you strap to your head, wrists, hip and ankles, and these then partner with a dedicated smartphone application to capture the motion data. This data can then be imported into other software to produce videos in which, say, your real self is replaced with a three-dimensional model. It is also able to function in real-time as a means of full-body participation in services such as VRChat, even when using standalone VR headsets.

The aim for mocopi is to free VTubers and other creative types from the constraints of traditional motion capture solutions, which can often be quite cumbersome to set up and, in some cases, requires dedicated operators to work alongside the performer. With mocopi, individual creators will be able to capture their movements wherever they are, and then make use of that data for whatever purposes they need. You can also simply export the motion data as an .mp4 video if you just want to make a simple avatar video.

The promotional video for the software demonstrates a variety of possible applications for the technology, including the usual predictable dance videos, but also demonstrating that it can be used as a means of integrating virtual characters into the “real” world. In the video, we see a virtual character walking through real environments and interacting with others — in one sequence, the character is even seen integrated so well with the environment that they’re able to appear realistically partially “behind” objects such as barriers on bridges.

Also it’s nice that the promotional video acknowledges that sometimes all a man wants to do is turn into a pretty anime girl and truly let themselves go. Although I guess actually having some real-life dancing skills helps one present as an idol somewhat more convincingly.


If widely adopted, the mocopi system opens up a great deal of potential for VTubers in particular, as it will allow them to make use of their 3D models to perform “IRL” streams and videos. Obviously those actually interacting with the VTuber in reality will see the person behind the avatar rather than the avatar themselves, but so far as the audience is concerned, it is the character who is out and about in the real world, interacting directly with others. The potential for this should be obvious!

Although the mocopi system is not set for release until late January of 2023, Sony will be releasing a software development kit in mid-December, which will allow developers to start preparing their projects in toolsets such as Unity and MotionBuilder to make use of mocopi data. Sony hopes that the mocopi kit will help develop the fledgling virtual world or “metaverse” market, as well as be of benefit to fitness-related services.

There’s no word on a western release for mocopi as yet, but it’s set to arrive in Japan in late January of 2023. It will cost 49,500 yen direct from Sony (just shy of £300) and preorders begin in mid-December. The system will also be exhibited at HIKKY’s Virtual Market 2022 Winter online event, which runs from December 3 to 18, 2022, and supports HIKKY’s Vket Cloud development engine.

Find out more about mocopi on the official site (Japanese).

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Pete Davison
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