Sixense's five-piece motion-controller STEM System takes to Kickstarter

Sci-fi author Neal Stephenson endorses it.

Sixense, the developer of the Razer Hydra PC motion-controller, has launched a new Kickstarter for its five-part motion-controller, the STEM System.

The STEM System will track the full position and orientation of up to five motion-tracking modules that can be attached to a player's body - typically with one on each limb and another on one's head. Relative to the Razer Hydra, STEM will "include longer range, wireless operation, modular form factor, and better tracking performance at all ranges."

Sixense boasts that the STEM features the lowest latency of any wireless consumer motion-control system, and since its modules don't rely on inertial sensors like gyroscopes and accelerometers for position tracking, it won't drift over time so you wont have to worry about the calibration getting all wonky.

Sci-fi author Neal Stephenson, who's in the process of developing a motion-controlled sword-fighting game called Clank, endorsed Sixense's upcoming device. "The STEM System has the precision and responsiveness to serve as the foundation of a great sword-fighting game," he said.

Additionally, STEM will be backwards compatible with the Razer Hydra, and will be an open platform for developers with an SDK available for PC, Mac and Linux.

With the STEM System, you'll be able to toss books, kick basketballs, punch sunflowers, and stomp on butterflies, just like the man in this demo.

Naturally, STEM pairs well the Oculus Rift VR headset and Virtuix's Omni treadmill. I got a small taste of it earlier this month when a couple of STEM modules were strapped to my ankles in a demo for the Omni, but it was hard to gauge which of my inputs were being filtered through the STEM and which were through the Omni - something made harder by the fact that I was playing Half-Life 2, a game originally designed for mouse and keyboard controls.

Early adopters can secure a two-tracker bundle for $149 before the price goes up to $199, while the three-tracker bundle begins at $199 for the first 300 backers before it goes up to $249. For the full five-piece set, it costs $299 for the early birds and $349 for the rest.

In only three hours the STEM System Kickstarter has raised over $200K towards its $250K goal. The current tally comes to $203,375 with 29 days left before its 12th October deadline.

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