Vicon enters markerless market with unparalleled accuracy

Aug 1, 2023

A new era for motion capture: Vicon enters markerless market with unparalleled accuracy

• Vicon will debut its markerless motion capture technology in collaboration with Artanim, the research arm of Dreamscape, the leading VR company, at SIGGRAPH 2023
• New Vicon ‘Pioneer Program’ will allow motion capture end users, influencers, evangelists and OEMs to collaborate with Vicon on future markerless use cases

OXFORD, UK – 1st August 2023 – Vicon today marks a new era of innovation in the field of motion capture, announcing that it will debut its machine learning (ML) powered markerless technology at SIGGRAPH 2023 in Los Angeles, in collaboration with Artanim, the Swiss research institute and the award-winning VR group, Dreamscape Immersive.

The announcement follows nearly three years of research and development focussing on the integration of ML and artificial intelligence (AI) into markerless motion capture at Vicon’s renowned R&D facility in Oxford, UK. The project has been undertaken by a new dedicated team, led by CTO Mark Finch, and leverages nearly four decades worth of Vicon innovation to enable a seamless, end-to-end markerless infrastructure, from pixel to purpose.

Commenting on the news, Imogen Moorhouse, Vicon CEO, said: “Today marks the beginning of a new era for motion capture. The ability to capture motion without markers, while maintaining industry leading accuracy and precision, is an incredibly complex feat. After an initial research phase, we have focussed on developing the world class markerless capture algorithms, robust real time tracking, labelling and solving needed to make this innovation a reality.

“What we are demonstrating at SIGGRAPH is not a one-off concept, or simply a technology demonstrator. It is our first step towards future product launches which will culminate in a first-of-its-kind platform for markerless motion capture.”

For Dreamscape, markerless motion capture can now provide a more true-to-life adventure than any other immersive VR experience by allowing for more free-flowing movement and exploration with even less user gear. Commenting on the decision to partner with Vicon, Aaron Grosky, President & COO of Dreamscape said: “We have been anxiously awaiting the time when markerless could break from concept and into product, where the technology could support the precision required to realize its amazing potential.

“Vicon’s reputation for delivering the highest standards of motion capture technology for nearly forty years and Dreamscape’s persistent quest to bring the audience into the experience with full agency and no friction meant that working together on this was a no-brainer. We’re thrilled with the result. The implications for both quality of experience and ease of operations across all our efforts, from location-based entertainment to transforming the educational journey with Dreamscape Learn, is just game-changing.”

The collaboration between Vicon and Artanim was key to ensure the desired requirements for the VR use case were met.

“Achieving best in class virtual body ownership and immersion in VR requires both accurate tracking and very low latency. We spent substantial R&D effort evaluating computational performance of ML-based tracking algorithms, implementing and fine-tuning the multi-modal tracking solution, as well as taking the best from the full-body markerless motion capture, and VR headset tracking capabilities,” said Sylvain Chagué, co-founder and CTO of Artanim and Dreamscape.

At SIGGRAPH, Vicon will showcase a six person, markerless and multi-modal real-time solve, set against Dreamscape’s location-based virtual reality adventure called ‘The Clockwork Forest”, created in partnership with Audemars Piguet, the Swiss haute horology manufacturer. The experience will allow participants to shrink to the size of an ant and explore a mechanical wonderland, while working together to repair the Source of Time and restore the rhythm of nature.

Vicon is aiming to enhance the potential for markerless motion capture, for the benefit of all. To accelerate the further development of this technology, Vicon is inviting individual motion capture influencers, evangelists, end user organisations, and technology partners to take part in its ‘Pioneer Program’, which also launches at SIGGRAPH 2023.

Through Vicon’s VFX (Visual Effects) Pioneer Program, the VFX, LBVR and virtual production communities will have the opportunity to discover, understand and define how markerless motion capture can be applied in their industry’s. The VFX Pioneer Program will be followed by additional programs dedicated to the engineering and life sciences sectors.

“Our markerless motion capture technology is a genuine breakthrough for the industry – but what comes next isn’t just about Vicon,” said Mark Finch, Vicon’s CTO. “To unlock the full range of exciting multi-modal use cases for motion capture and drive commercially viable, accurate and precision-oriented markerless innovations we need a higher level of collaboration, with all actors, in all relevant sectors.”

Discover The Clockwork Forest experience for yourself, and find out more about the Vicon Pioneer Program, by visiting Booth 223 at SIGGRAPH 2023, held at the Los Angeles Convention Center from 8th-10th August.

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