Imagine your children coming home from school and telling you about their day. Instead of talking about what they learned in books or tablets, imagine they tell you about a headset. One that allows them to travel to the surface of Jupiter or inside a human cell. This virtual reality classroom could be the norm in the near future, with a company called Noitom leading the way.
Noitom is a technology company specializing in motion capture (MOCAP) and virtual reality tools. Recently, the company released its Academic Solutions with Perception Neuron package to bring cutting edge motion capture technology to universities and schools at every level for an affordable price.
While enjoying a reputation as an innovative company that develops tools largely for use in animation, film, medical applications, robotics, and gaming, Noitom holds a special commitment to the academics industry. With a mission to bring its technology into classrooms, the company is revolutionizing accessibility.
“With the launch of our Academic Packages, we are […] opening the door to smaller schools and classes that didn’t think they could have the budget and equipment to incorporate this type of cutting-edge technology,” Roch Nakajima, President of Noitom International said in a press release.
Packages start at around $2,800 and go up to $13,000 for the most robust systems. Schools that purchase any Perception Neuron packaged receive a 15-class motion capture curriculum to cover every aspect of the system.
The curriculum, written by Curvin Huber, Professor of Interactive Media at Becker College with editorial contributions by Professor Stacey Fox of the Michigan State University School of Journalism, include topics such as History of Motion Capture and Acting for Mocap and Mixing Motion Capture Data.
Motion Capture Tech in Schools – A Means to an End
The ultimate goal is not merely to bring MOCAP and virtual reality experience to all classrooms, just for the sake of it. Speaking with Parentology, Nakajima explains Noitom’s tools are a means to an end.
“Think about the introduction of computers in schools a few decades years ago,” he says. “At first they were viewed as a niche for those wanting to learn programming, but as software started to be developed — because of those first kids who were exposed to programming — computers quickly became a widespread learning tool. You use them to design school reports, edit videos and pictures for presentations, or to calculate and analyze data. The computer is no longer as important as the software that it runs- Photoshop, Microsoft, and Excel.”
Nakajima says technology like Noitom’s MOCAP system is the same thing.
“They provide the ability to capture human motion the same way a keyboard captures the keystrokes typed by a user. But neither of these sets of data mean anything until they are processed by software.”
He continues, “What that software does depends on what the user wants to do. They may want to capture movement to animate a character for film using iClone or Maya. Or apply it to a video game and use Unity 3D or Unreal Engine. Maybe they want to use it to enhance a dance performance and use NOTCH, or to analyze ergonomics for sports and use Scalefit or Nawo. By introducing these types of tools into an education pipeline, we are sowing the seeds for tomorrow’s cutting edge applications.”
Up until recently, Motion Capture was a source of data the education sector couldn’t easily access. Very few students had any kind of exposure to the technology, especially at a younger age, limiting the ability and motivation to build it out further, Nakajima says. But allowing students to explore cutting edge uses of this data today will allow for new uses in the future.
“Although current students are mostly using Noitom’s equipment for ‘traditional’ MOCAP used in gaming and animation, these same students will be the innovators of the future that will expand MOCAP’s application beyond our imagination,” Nakajima says.
Over the last year alone, Nakajima says use of MOCAP has boomed in new verticals, including sports, medicine and entertainment. This alone shows the importance of getting this technology into classrooms earlier rather than later.
Feedback has also been promising. Nakajima admits while most of their sales have been due to word of mouth, growth has been consistent. So much so, Noitom is becoming synonymous with MOCAP for the educational market.
The company’s aim is to keep pushing this growth of motion capture in schools. Once enough classrooms are usingthe program, he hopes to initiate a global MOCAP hackathon contest to recognize and reward students and educators at the forefront of this emerging tech.
Motion Capture Tech in Schools – Sources
Virtual Reality Reporter
Roch Nakajima, President of Noitom International