Sony Head-Mounted Device Allows Users to Step Inside an Anime
posted on by Eric Stimson
Anime Japan 2013 had plenty of booths at Tokyo Big Sight advertising the latest anime and hawking related swag, but some companies also took the opportunity to showcase new technology that might be of interest to fans of animation.
Sony's new HMD (head-mounted device) takes those who wear it into the world of anime. It tracks your head movements so it feels as if you're actually inside a cartoon. Turn to your left, and the video you're watching will swing that way too. The example at Sony's booth was for the idol anime The [email protected] and came loaded with two videos. One showed a concert, with the wearer in the perspective of an audience member. The other (seen below) is set in the offices of the talent agency from the anime and lets you watch the cast behind the scenes.
And then there was the booth for Graphinica, a special effects studio active in several anime (The Pilot's Love Song, Girls und Panzer). It blurs the border between reality and animation even further with its Live2D motion capture technology. Using the Kinect (a motion sensing device released for the Xbox 360) and a microphone, it translates movements and voice onto a 2-D character on a screen. While this sort of technology is common, Live2D uses 2-D rather than 3-D models.
Sony's line of HMDs puts it into competition with the Oculus Rift, a technology developed by Oculus VR, a company recently picked up by Facebook for $2 billion. The Oculus Rift can also be used to interact with fictional characters.