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Qumarion mannequin input device for intuitive 3D manipulation
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Qumarion mannequin input device for intuitive 3D manipulation

The Qumarion is a mannequin input device developed to simplify the manipulation and posing of human-like 3D CG models on screen.

It uses QUMA technology, codeveloped by two university ventures, SoftEther from University of Tsukuba, and ViVienne from The University of Electro-Communications, which transfers pose data from sensors on the mannequin to the 3D application in real time. The mannequin features 32 sensors on 16 joints and data from each joint is transferred to the PC via USB at 120 fps, enabling the 3D model to instantly display the poses.

"Until now, handling 3D models was in some ways non-intuitive and difficult. Also, depending on the software, dragging can make movements unnatural. So we wanted to handle models more intuitively, by moving a mannequin. That's why we've made QUMARION."

"This mannequin was designed by a maker of action figures. So a big feature is, it can move much more than an artist's mannequin. For example, it can take sitting positions like this. It's hard to obtain a mannequin that can assume as many poses as this one. Additionally, I think we've made this mannequin into quite a complete tool, by embedding sensors in it."

Software for Qumarion is currently being developed by Celsys, a developer of illustration and comic production software. The plan is to release it within the next few months, as a package with the input device, for about US$750.

"Celsys provides production tools for illustrations and comics. We expect the software will be used when drawing 2D illustrations, for example. You could give the model a pose with Qumarion, and use this 3D character as a rough design, and draw by tracing over it. That was our initial motivation for developing Qumarion. But it could be used for 3D as well, as an input device for drawing key frames and creating movement. We think Qumarion could also be a tool that evolves in that direction."

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