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The STEM System™ is a wireless, modular motion tracking platform for video games, virtual reality (VR), and more. It enables players to interact naturally and intuitively with games by tracking full position and orientation at all times, whether at the desktop or throughout the entire living room.
This is the next big step in Sixense motion tracking technology – with advancements including longer range, wireless operation, modular form factor, and better tracking performance at all ranges. The STEM System will support up to five wireless motion tracking modules, or STEMs, for full position and orientation tracking of the head and hands, the entire body, or other configurations.
In order to foster a robust developer community, the STEM System will be an open platform for creators of both software and hardware consumer products. Developers will be able to create games with virtually no restrictions and to embed STEMs for tracking of their own peripherals or wearable devices, such as swords, baseball bats or head-mounted displays. The modularity of the STEM System will give developers the flexibility and autonomy they need to create motion-tracked titles complete with motion-tracked peripherals of their own design.
The second-generation Sixense SDK takes advantage of the STEM System’s extended capabilities and also provides backward compatibility with products and games powered by earlier generations of Sixense motion tracking technology, including the Razer Hydra. The SDK is available for Windows, Mac OS and Linux.
Sixense MotionCreator is a powerful software application that delivers motion gameplay to virtually any published PC game. It allows you to play using the natural, intuitive motion control provided by the STEM System. The game itself is never “aware” that any new device is being used to play the game since Sixense MotionCreator emulates the inputs for which the game was designed.
Hundreds of games are already supported by Sixense MotionCreator, so a huge catalog of titles for the STEM System will be available when it ships. Users can create profiles that convert the STEM System’s motion tracking, button, analog sticks, and analog triggers to mouse and keyboard commands. And anyone can use and customize Sixense MotionCreator, even those without game or software development skills. Sixense MotionCreator is available free to users of the STEM System.
The Sixense Tuscany Demo adds motion input to the standard Oculus Rift Tuscany demo. We modified the demo to demonstrate the STEM System’s ability to drastically enhance the immersive experience delivered by VR applications. For the first time, this allows users to interact with the virtual world intuitively and naturally with their head, hands, and feet. No development experience is required to use the demo.
We will release the source code for the Sixense Tuscany Demo for all developers. It includes the following features to enable STEM System developers to quickly and easily add motion input to their own applications:
- Reference implementation for adding motion-tracked hands to a Unity VR application
- Full body avatar with inverse kinematics
- Example physics implementation for hands and feet
- Sixense Player Controller prefab decoupling the head from the body. Drag and drop into your scene
- Sixense Tuscany Demo scene
Sixense developed the electromagnetic motion tracking technology that is used in consumer products worldwide. The STEM System represents the next generation of this technology, with a new architecture that delivers longer range, lower latency, and better performance at all ranges.
Freedom of movement for any activity, from desktop competitive gaming to VR with full body tracking and locomotion.
Allows tracking of all four limbs plus the head – or any other configuration.
Each STEM is a standalone position and orientation tracker. It can be embedded in a STEM Controller, one of our STEM Packs, or other compatible peripheral.
Optimized performance from the desktop to the living room, with an 8-foot radius (16-foot diameter) range from the Base.
Uses an updated version of the Sixense SDK (for Windows, Mac OS and Linux) that also supports games and applications developed for the Razer Hydra.
Our technology uses an A/C electromagnetic field to determine the position and orientation of each STEM (up to five per system) relative to a stationary base. The STEM System allows an uninterrupted and consistent user experience unlike any other motion control system.
Because Sixense technology does not rely on inertial sensors (gyroscopes and accelerometers) for position tracking, the measured position of each STEM will not drift over time, whether you move quickly, slowly, or not at all.
Patented Sixense latency technology is used in the STEM System – giving it the lowest latency of any wireless consumer motion control system.
This means that the STEM System tracks both position and orientation on all three axes for each STEM. These data are very easy for developers to incorporate into software applications via the Sixense SDK.
You have the freedom to turn around, put the STEMs in your pockets or stand behind your couch – all without interrupting the tracking performance.
A module that enables the STEM System to determine the STEM’s position and orientation.
Contains the coil that serves as the stationary reference for each STEM. Includes charging docks for two controllers and three STEM Packs, plus three additional USB charging ports.
Each wireless STEM Controller will feature a trigger, a bumper, buttons and analog joystick to allow maximum flexibility for development of any genre of game. Each Controller provides power to its removable, embedded STEM via a rechargeable battery. Controllers will also feature haptic feedback.
These enable STEMs to be used purely for motion tracking. Each STEM Pack contains a STEM dock, a rechargable battery to power the STEM, a clip and an attachment for a bracelet. STEM Packs will also feature haptic feedback.
We’re always listening to both users and developers and we’re working hard to ensure that all features in the STEM System help you develop faster and play better. We set the bar for performance to the highest consumer standards. Developers won’t be restricted in what they create and enthusiasts and early adopter backers will get the best possible motion control system.
Any distraction or intrusion from the “real world” degrades the virtual reality experience. Traditional input devices such as the mouse and keyboard or gamepad are unnatural in VR, serving as constant reminders to users of the world outside the virtual environment. Sixense-powered wired controllers, such as the Razer Hydra, provide that “Aha!” moment when the user puts on the VR headset, and then looks down and sees his or her virtual hands moving exactly as they do in real life.
Today’s rapidly growing community of VR developers realize that the controller needs to be improved in order to deliver the uninterrupted and immersive experience they’re after. The STEM System goes way beyond, freeing you from wires and opening up the entire living room.
Will the STEM System's functionality and features for Kickstarter differ from the consumer version?
No. While we may make industrial design changes, the functionality and features of the consumer version of the STEM System will be identical to what we deliver to Kickstarter backers. This ensures that developers can develop and test to the exact target hardware that consumers will purchase.
Is the tracking performance better than the Razer Hydra?
Yes. We have made significant improvements in the performance of the Sixense motion tracking technology. We have a new architecture, which replaces the previous non-concentric 3-coil design in the Razer Hydra handsets with a concentric coil design with a ferrite core. This allows for the manufacturing process to go from hand-placement of coils to a fully automatic pick-and-place process known as Surface Mount Technology. This is a more reliable and repeatable process that improves both the accuracy of the system and the consistency between each STEM.
Can you use more than one STEM Base to extend the range?
Yes! You can use up to three STEM Bases connected to one host computer to extend the playing range over a wider area.
Can multiple STEM Bases be used in the same room on separate host computers?
Yes, multiple STEM Bases can be used in the same room right next to each other.
Will the STEM System include haptics? Will it be integrated with Tactical Haptics?
We will include basic haptics in both the STEM Controller and STEM Pack. We are still making decisions (such as one vs. two motors) that will be determined based on power optimization and other considerations.
Tactical Haptics is a close partner. They are developing a controller with advanced haptics and they are planning to allow a STEM to be embedded in their product.
Will the STEM System work with the Oculus Rift?
We will continue to work closely with Oculus to make sure that the STEM System SDK and the Oculus Rift SDK are compatible. The Sixense Tuscany Demo is a good example of our collaboration (as you can see above).
Will the STEM System work with the Virtuix Omni?
We will continue to work closely Virtuix to make sure that the STEM System SDK and the Omni SDK are compatible.
Are there separate left and right controllers or are the controllers all identical?
We are experimenting with different prototypes and layouts to find the perfect solution. We value your input and are listening to all feedback from Kickstarter backers in the development cycle.
Will I be able to order more STEMs, Controllers or STEM Packs later if I decide that I need more?
We will have an online pre-order system after the Kickstarter project closes. Keep in mind that in terms of shipping date, the Kickstarter orders will be first. If you already know that you need additional STEMs, you can pledge for the Add-Ons described above.
What will be the battery life for the controllers and STEM Packs?
We are targeting 8 hours of continuous play for both the STEM Pack and STEM Controller. Both the Controller and Pack batteries are rechargeable by docking them on the Base when the Base is plugged into an AC outlet.
What is happening with MakeVR, the 3D modeling application that you announced in the spring?
MakeVR is still a high priority for Sixense and work is progressing. As many of you have noted, it’s a great fit with the STEM System and it's fully supported. We will make an announcement about the timeline soon.
What games are supported by the STEM System?
The STEM System supports all games and applications developed for the Razer Hydra including games like Portal 2 (with the custom motion DLC, the Portal 2 MotionPack), Team Fortress 2, Dota 2 and more. We are working with Valve to add support for Half-Life 2 and Left 4 Dead 2. We also have support for many Oculus Rift games like The Gallery: Six Elements and Crash Landing.
We are currently working with many game developers on providing integrated STEM System support in their games and hope to announce those soon. This includes titles being developed for the Oculus Rift, Razer Hydra and Virtuix Omni. We are really excited about all of the work that’s being done already!
And of course our Sixense MotionCreator is fully supported by the STEM System. Sixense MotionCreator is a powerful software application that delivers motion gameplay to virtually any published PC game. It allows you to play using the natural, intuitive motion control provided by the STEM System. The game itself is never “aware” that any new device is being used to play the game since Sixense MotionCreator emulates the inputs for which the game was designed.
Hundreds of games are already supported by Sixense MotionCreator (http://sixense.com/products/motioncreator), so a huge catalog of titles for the STEM System will be available when it ships. Users can create profiles that convert the STEM System’s motion tracking, button, analog sticks, and analog triggers to mouse and keyboard commands. And anyone can use and customize Sixense MotionCreator, even those without game or software development skills. Sixense MotionCreator is available free to users of the STEM System.
How can I play Left 4 Dead 2 like I see you playing in the Kickstarter video? I've used my Hydra with L4D2 plenty of times and never could wield my weapons like that.
The version Left 4 Dead 2 shown in the video is a proof of concept that we created to demonstrate full integration of our platform into a FPS game. We designed features like 1-to-1 control of the katana for melee combat, free throwing of objects and special aim modes especially to take advantage of Sixense tracking technology. We are hoping to release this support and we will keep everyone updated as to any news. It is not yet publicly available.
How much overhead processing is required by the host computer to compute the motion tracking data?
The STEM System contains a DSP (digital signal processor) that handles the processing of motion tracking position and orientation for each STEM. By the time the host computer receives the position and orientation data for each STEM, processing power required is approximately the same as for three mice.
Will the STEM System support CryEngine 3?
We are integrating the STEM System with Unity, Unreal and Source and we do plan on supporting CryEngine 3.
Does the magnetic field of the STEM System affect other objects in the area?
No. It is impossible for a STEM System to interfere with hard drives, credit cards, televisions, speakers, pacemakers etc.
The STEM System uses A/C electromagnetic motion tracking technology, one of the advantages of which is that it can operate at very low field levels. So low, in fact, that the peak field strength from the Sixense system is 40 times less than that of the Earth’s magnetic field. Therefore, any system or material which is not affected by the Earth’s magnetic field will not be affected by the field used with a STEM System.
Additional reason the STEM System cannot magnetize materials is that because the field alternates between positive and negative polarity with time, the average field strength is zero. The magnetic source used in the STEM System operates at or above ~8,000 Hz, so the field polarity changes faster than every ~125 microseconds. Any material will see a zero average magnetic field and no magnetization will take place.
Why is the STEM System's magnetic field safe?
Research data shows that the magnetic field generated by the STEM System is lower than the most stringent government exposure standard. Magnetic sources used in the STEM System are wound coils designed to emit only magnetic field energy. The STEM System generates pulsed AC signals at frequencies of 30 kHz or lower and the electric field power is more than 60 dB below any exposure limit.
Is the STEM System compatible with the Razer Hydra?
Content for the Hydra will be supported by the STEM System. You will also be able to use a Hydra and a STEM System simultaneously on the same host PC. This means that Hydra users can add head or body tracking for VR.
Our updated Sixense SDK will support the simultaneous use of the Hydra and STEM System. The Hydra + STEM System configuration will require both a Hydra (with its base) and a STEM Base (i.e., you cannot use STEMs with only a Hydra base).
Is it possible to use multiple STEM Systems on the same host computer?
You will be able to use three STEM Systems on one host computer, whether it’s a Steam Machine running SteamOS with Big Picture, or a Windows-, Linux- or Mac OS X-based PC. Multiple STEM Systems on a single host creates an incredibly flexible living room experience for PC gaming and VR. This enables many new configurations including two users with seven trackers each (swordfighting), four players with three trackers each (multiplayer FPS in VR), and many more.
Will the STEM System include the ability to change frequencies via the SDK?
This feature is not finalized yet. Currently, we use a switch in the STEM Base to set the frequency.
Are you planning to provide a wired structure with the ability to connect to a single high-capacity battery?
No, we believe that the STEM Packs need to be wireless. However the STEM Packs and Controllers can be operated while plugged in and charging with a standard USB cable. Users will be able to use any power source that can output to USB so custom implementation of high capacity batteries is a possibility.
How much is international shipping?
To all of our international backers (outside the United States):
Due to the cost and complexity of shipping to locations outside the U.S., we will need to bill separately for shipping at a date closer to the actual shipping date. This will make sure that we are able to charge the lowest possible amount based once we have determined the volumes and worked out the optimal shipping logistics. Please remember that backers will be responsible to verify and add import duties and VAT or other applicable taxes.
Because our Kickstarter project offers rewards with different sizes and weights, shipping will vary based on the specific reward and add-ons selected. Below are estimates for various countries based on the estimated shipping weight of the STEM System. All prices do not include import duties and VAT. If your country is not listed, please contact us and we will do our best to work with you to find a solution.
We hope to be able to do much better than the amounts below. All shipping rates are subject to change.
• Canada $30-40
• Mexico $40-50
• Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia $40-$50
• England, Scotland $50-$60
• Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland $40-50
• Spain, Portugal, Greece $40-$50
• Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark $40-50
• Czech Republic $55-$65
• Poland $50-$60
• Slovakia $40-$50
• Slovenia $40-$50
• Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia $55-$65
• Bosnia, Croatia
• China $50-$60
• Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand $45-$55
• Australia, New Zealand $55-$70
South Africa $50-$60
• Abu Dhabi $45-$55
• Egypt $45-$55
• Israel $45-$55
• Lebanon $45-$55