WEARABLE TECH: THE ROKOKO SMARTSUIT PRO 

LTP smart wearables collaboration at Performance Days

The LTP team are thrilled about their collaboration with Rokoko, a Danish company with offices in Copenhagen and San Francisco, who specialise in the design and development of Smartsuits based on motion capture technology. LTP are responsible for manufacturing the textile part of the suit, which they are proud to present at Performance Days Munich on the 8th and 9th of May, as part of this year’s ‘Beyond Conventional Function’ themed Performance Forum. 

Anne Prahl talked to Rokoko Co-Founder and CPO Matias Søndergaard to find out more about the idea behind the suit, as well as discuss applications and opportunities for future development.

Rokoko Smart Suit Pro, image © Rokoko

Rokoko Smart Suit Pro, image © Rokoko

The Smart Suit Pro is a wearable motion capture system developed to enable animators in the film and games industry to turn any space into their personal motion capture stage. This provides professionals with a transformative tool to create more realistic character movements in films and games, as human actors’ movements and actions are recorded to provide data for 2D and 3D character animation. Due to the high cost, motion capture technology has not been accessible to 90% of the people that wanted to work with it and to address this issue, Rokoko’s aim was to bring the technology to the millions of creators, developers and researchers that never had access before.

Apart from being more affordable than other tools used in the industry, the suit’s key advantages are that is completely intuitive to wear and use and can start capturing data within a minute from putting it on. The Smart Suit Pro is equipped with a network of wireless sensors that record the wearer’s every movement and the technology is integrated into the suit to transmit data via Wi-Fi to connected systems and programs.

Rokoko Smart Suit Pro technology integration, image © Rokoko

Rokoko Smart Suit Pro technology integration, image © Rokoko

The suit’s fabrics play a significant role, as the sensors have to be kept in place during rapid movements, yet still be light, durable and flexible. Normally motion capture is designed with Lycra fabrics to be as tight as possible, but Rokoko wanted to challenge that notion and explore more advanced performance fabrics for better comfort and user experience. This was achieved by utilising durable Nylon and Elastane, which offers comfort and stretchability, while a special weaving technology guarantees fast drying and quick sweat absorption. A Microfibre Polyamide and Elastane power mesh was used to provide breathability and add a soft touch and seamlessly integrated tunnels protect the electronic parts.

Although the suit currently only focuses on capturing body movements, the company are launching a face capture solution at the FMX Conference on Animation, Effects, Games and Immersive Media at the end of April. This disruptive technology will enable the capture of facial expressions and a Smartglove, due to be launched later this year, provides finger tracking, which in combination with the suit and face capture technology, makes full performance capture complete.

Rokoko Smart Suit Pro, image www.rokoko.com

Rokoko Smart Suit Pro, imagewww.rokoko.com

Although Rokoko is firmly committed to pushing its potential in the professional animation space, the company recognise the potential for future applications such as sports and preventative health care and are keen to explore development opportunities going forward. The suit could be particularly helpful in perfecting the wearer’s golf swing, running posture or tennis serve, as well as preventing or treating injuries based on sensor-enabled body analysis. Rokoko are currently researching ways to animate a virtual character with a simple video input based on all their know-how about human movements, biomechanics and kinematics and envision a future where sports wear can give the wearer real-time feedback to maximise their training and performance.

Companies are already beginning to explore motion capture technology for sportswear, as various research studies have shown that motion capture could be extremely useful for sports teaching and training, such as providing motivation through gamification, improving training efficiency through visual feedback and reducing the possibility of injury. In our report ‘Top 10 smart sports & fitness styles’, we recently highlighted the example of the Teslasuit, which is described as the world’s first fully integrated smart clothing with haptic feedback, motion capture, heat control and a biometric feedback system. The Teslasuit’s manufacturers also see great potential for games and entertainment, fitness and sports, wellness and healthcare applications, so we are likely to see interesting consumer products coming to the market soon.  

Feel free to contact me at ali@l-t-p.com, if you have any questions, or meet us in Performance Days

About LTP Group

LTP is a Danish owned garment manufacturer for +60 premium brands within active sportswear, outdoor, athleisure and sustainable fashion. LTP was established in 1991, and is probably the biggest functional garment manufacturer in Europe with bluesign setups in Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Vietnam

LTP consists of two divisions; LTP Garment and LTP Contract Furniture producing in ten fully-owned factories.

About Anne Prahl

Anne is a London-based, independent design professional specialising in sustainable design, research and innovation for the sportswear and fashion industry. You can find out more about her work via Linkedin or get in touch at: anne@anneprahldesign.com