Moriyama-san alerted us to a press release from SoftEther that shows a lot of promise in harnessing 3D motion capture technology for a wide range of applications including robotics, graphic design, simulations, and other fields. The new product, named "QUMA", which we first posted about back in late 2009, makes dramatic improvements to the user interface for 3D designers. The core concept is so simple and intuitive that we're amazed that someone didn't come up with it before and beat SoftEther to the market.
Here's the QUMA system in action:
SoftEther, working with CELSYS and Vivian Corporation, have designed a simple, hand held, doll like figure with sensor equipped joints. Each part of the device can be moved freely by hand allowing the user to place it in exactly the position they desire. Instead of trying to move body parts using a computer mouse and trying to visualize the results on a 2D screen display, the new product enables designers to hold and position the body exactly the way they want to, in their own hands.
While experienced CG software users may not immediately see the need to use QUMA, but many will jump at the chance. Novice users will immediately flock to it since it improves the user interface by several orders of magnitude.
"QUMA" is a play on words. The original prototype took the form of a toy bear and 'kuma' is the Japanese name for bear. Communication between QUMA and the users PC uses the USB 2.0 bus multiplexing the position signals from the device joints and is powered by the USB bus. It supports Windows and Mac OS X (tentative).
The core QUMA technology can easily be adapted to model other creatures or shapes and the company is actively interested in potential applications developers and can provide the QUMA SDK.
Of course, the only things missing from the press release are the same things we really want to know - "How much is it?" and "When will it hit the market?" 😀
We'll let you know as soon as we find out.