Miney Moe: using mocap in AR in the medical context

November 20, 2017
5 min read
Miney Moe Combines the Power of the Smartsuit Pro with Augmented Reality to Help Children at Hospitals

We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Augmented Reality (AR) pioneer Elliot Myhre, founder of Miney Moe, and learn about his quest to build a framework that serves to help children cope with pre-procedural anxiety at hospitals. In a recent interview Elliot gave us some further insight into how the Rokoko Smartsuit Pro aided him in the development of his latest project.

So, Elliot, what is Miney Moe?

A little over a year ago, I left my job to pursue an idea I had for an AR (Augmented Reality) communication application for children in hospitals. I went on to submit a proposal for an application that helps children prepare for various hospital procedures. These procedures involve things like IV placements and other basic tests preceding more complex surgeries. Essentially, Miney Moe aims to accomplish two goals: first, educate children, and second, provide them a distraction when it’s most needed.

Miney Moe is working in partnership with an amazing team of doctors, nurses, and child life specialists at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, who are spearheading the hospital’s Chariot program. The program seeks to engage children in imaginative play, and minimize their exposure to stressful stimuli by using nontraditional technologies such as Virtual and Augmented Reality.

How did Rokoko’s Smartsuit Pro help in your project?

When I first set out on my journey I had no idea how to create these 3D, voiced-controlled stories. I wasn’t sure how I would build unique animated characters with voice capabilities in an efficient manner that would bring an accurate, high-quality final result. I feared my animations would be limited by other software’s defaults and would therefore lack the specific dynamic and personal characterization that makes Miney Moe truly one of a kind.

With the Smartsuit Pro, I put on the suit, and in a very short amount of time I’m able to make really high-quality animations. The challenge to produce gorgeous animations at a high output volume is an ambitious goal for any animator, but I find it is easily attainable with the power of Rokoko’s technology.

Animation requires a certain level of realism, particularly when it’s meant to form a seamless connection with a child; the aim is for the character’s motion to be indistinguishable from human motion. Realism is a crucial component in my project because I need the robots to mimic human movement even if they are in fact robots. I want my animations to feel completely natural.

In keeping with my ideas, it is essential that I have complete control of the animated components in my project. Traditional animation studios come with prepackaged motions for their animations whereas the Smartsuit Pro gives me the ability to capture organic, authentic movement that allows me to create virtually anything I can dream of.

The technology is intuitive, and I’m able to handle all of my animations with ease. I can create entire worlds in a relatively short period of time, skip the tech complications, and proceed with fleshing out my concepts. I now use Rokoko’s Smartsuit Pro in all of my projects because of its accessibility and intuitiveness.

What does the future hold for Miney Moe?

The vision that gave birth to Miney Moe is one in which we have unlimited capability to build content in the holographic communication space. The first step was to provide AR media to children in hospitals in order to help prepare them for procedures, which is what our current content delivers. I want to be able to bring holographic communication to children wherever they need it, starting with hospitals.

The way people connect to one another is rapidly changing due to the emergence of new technologies. Already people are using mobile phones to video chat with one another from across the world as a natural part of their day, and even that will become outdated as technology advances. Imagine putting on a headset and uploading a hologram of yourself into a digital space to meet someone - think about the level of connection that entails! These technologies allow for a greater depth of intimacy for humans. It will ultimately changing how we interact with one another.

The first pieces of content I want to design in this way will provide control to an adult through voice-controlled storytelling. For example, envision a grandparent being able to generate a holographic story through voice-control that they can read to their grandchild from across the country.

Looking at the near future, I would like to use the Smartsuit Pro’s live animation capabilities in my projects. The ability to broadcast live animation makes way for a new realm of ideas - adults controlling 3D characters in real-time, for one.

With the power of Rokoko’s technology I see myself being able to manufacture all of my ideas both now and in the future. The ease in which I am able to build quality animations propels my vision toward the next step on of the journey.

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