Full-body motion-tracking is possible at home with systems like the Vive Trackers but that is limited to certain headsets. Singapore-based tech company Refract aims to widen that market with its tracking solution AXIS (Active XR Interface System). With a plan to bring AXIS to market in 2022, today Refract has launched a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign to aid that endeavour.
While not specifically designed for virtual reality (VR) use, AXIS is built around active gaming of any type so it’s ideal for energetic VR titles. The system is made up of a series of very neat looking wearable sensors that attach to a player’s arms and legs, recording their movements in real-time. There are nine sensors and an on-body hub for inside-out positional tracking (so no external sensors are required), all of which are water-resistant so they don’t get affected by sweat.
Refract has built AXIS to tailor to three distinct setups depending on a user’s needs: Standard, VR, and Creator. So whether you’re into normal videogames, VR experiences or an animator who needs to use AXIS for motion capture, all bases are covered. When it comes to VR compatibility AXIS out-of-the-box works with OpenVR, OpenXR and SteamVR, with Blade & Sorcery used as an example.
For the Kickstarter, Refract aims to raise $133,900 USD to help it move AXIS into mass production. Like many funding campaigns, AXIS offers backers some big discounts for pledging early with the standard funding tier at $499 supplying nine sensors and hub plus a copy of Freestriker, the company’s own in-house title. For those that are quick, there’s a limited Super Early Bird offer dropping the price to $399.
Freestriker is a first-person fighting game that looks hyper-realistic – when it comes to body movement – with two players sparring off against one another. It’s not VR-compatible but it would certainly be a great fit for VR gaming. Adding to Refract’s virtual martial arts credentials the company has entered into a partnership with World Taekwondo to develop its virtual sports program.
Founded in 2018 by Unity, EA, and Ubisoft veterans, Refract features a strong team of 40+ employees to bring AXIS to market in 2022. As the Kickstarter progresses through to 1st October VRFocus will report back with any further updates.