Motion Capture system that you can build yourself

An open hardware-software framework based on inertial sensors that anyone can use to build a human motion capture system.

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A couple of years ago I wanted to make a digital performance with a dancer on stage, and wanted to use a mocap suit to get his movements. There was none available at an affordable price, so I started the development of this one.

In the meantime, several cheaper options came out, but those remain out of the capability of most users and, more importantly, they work under proprietary licenses. You can’t modify the way they work, or use part of them in another software project.

As an alternative, this is a motion capture system that can be easily assembled by anyone in order for them to start capturing as soon as they are able to build it. Additionally, it is an open hardware-software framework that can be freely tweaked, enhanced, or used as part of another project.

Chordata is a motion capture system that you can build yourself. Our goal is taking the world of motion capture to the universe of DIY technologies with an Open Hardware approach.

For a quick introduction you can visit our website.

Detailed technical information, building instructions and user manual are available at our wiki.

If you have any doubts, of just want to share your thoughts on the project, join the discussion at our forum.

Or perhaps you prefer to dive directly into the CODE or KICAD sources at our repositories at gitlab.

🚀 Kickstarter Campaign [120% funded! ⚡️🔥]

The Chordata Motion Kickstarter campaign has raised over €42.000, that's a 120% of our initial funding goal. We’re blown away by the incredible response we received.
Thank you all for the support you've given this system!

Check out the campaign here:

The project at a Glance:

you can get an idea of what Chordata is all about with the infographic below

Why Chordata was created

The origin of Chordata was a basic need. Bruno, our tech lead, wanted a way to register dance moves for a performance piece, but none of the tools available matched his needs (nor his budget). A lot has happened since then: now the system is publicly available (as a BETA release), and lots of documentation can be found on the sites described above.

Just for the record we leave the original description of the project below, as it was written when the main parts of the system were under development.

Original description of the project:

This project consists on three parts:

Hardware (K-Ceptor):

Motion capture is about getting the orientation of every body limb or part at real time as accurate as possible. A simple MEMS IMU device*, and freely available sensor fusion algorithms are enough to get a decent result. The problem starts when you want to get the data of several devices. Most of this devices came with an i2c interface, but their address is fixed in the hardware. So one of the building blocks of Chordata is the sensing unit capable of coexisting with several “siblings” on the same bus: the “K-Ceptor” It consists of a LSM9DS1 IMU, and a LTC4316 i2c address translator.

While developing and prototyping  we hand-soldered lots of these boards in house, so having the minimum possible number of SMD components per board made that process a little easier.

Software (Notochord):

Getting the data of a lot of sensors on real time, processing it, and send it in an easy-to-read format to some client is not a simple job, so I’m developing a software from scratch to deal with it.

It is responsible for:

  • Building a digital model of the physical hierarchy of sensors. Initializing the i2c communication on the Hub, and running the configuration routine on each of the sensors.
  • Performing a reading on each of the sensors at the specified refresh rate.
  • Correcting each sensor reading with the deviation obtained on a previous calibration process.
  • Performing a sensor fusion on the corrected sensor reading, obtaining absolute orientation information in form of a quaternion.
  • Sending the orientation data, together with the sensor_id and a timestamp to the client using an open protocol (such as OSC)

After several testing I discovered that using an Single Board Computer running linux was the best choice to host such a program, so all of the development of this part of the software has been done on C++, using a Raspberry Pi 3 as the hub. Some of the advantages of this type of hub, in comparison with simpler microcontrollers are:

  • It’s not an expensive component.
  • Programming and debugging is enormously simplified.
  • Some of them, like the rPi3, came out of the box with all the communication peripherals needed to perform a confortable capture, with the remarkable example of the Wifi adapter.

The choice of performing the sensor fusion inside...

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Hub program of the Chordata open source motion capture system. 0.1.1b Changelog: ========= - "Scan" feature - Fix bug with acelerometer and gyroscope calibration - Validate acel and gyro calibration - Improve calibration CLI UX - Add higher Sensor data rate (experimental)

gzip - 844.67 kB - 05/21/2019 at 16:28



Complete bill of materials

Adobe Portable Document Format - 223.90 kB - 02/12/2019 at 13:34


Sensing hardware of the Chordata open source motion capture system. KICAD project

Zip Archive - 100.77 kB - 02/12/2019 at 13:16


Hub hardware of the Chordata open source motion capture system. KICAD project

Zip Archive - 142.84 kB - 02/12/2019 at 13:16


Blender add-on allows you to receive, record, and retransmit physical motion capture data coming from a Chordata open source motion capture system

Zip Archive - 12.59 MB - 10/27/2018 at 10:59


View all 12 files

  • 1 × Raspberry Pi 3 or other SBC
  • 15 × LSM9DS1 (Number of units for an average full body suit) Semiconductors and Integrated Circuits / Misc. Semiconductors and Integrated Circuits
  • 15 × LTC4316 (Number of units for an average full body suit) i2c address translator
  • 36 × RJ12 6p6c connector (Number of units for an average full body suit) Passive
  • 15 × M24C01 (Number of units for an average full body suit) EEPROM memory

View all 9 components

  • Our crowdfunding campaign is Fully funded! ⚡️

    Bruno Laurencich07/21/2020 at 14:51 0 comments


    There's still a lot of work to do, as we'll now be aiming for a higher funding objective, but we couldn't miss this chance to thank you all for helping us through this campaign!. Open Source motion capture is definitely here to stay.

  • Over 80% funded in the first week!

    Bruno Laurencich07/09/2020 at 07:36 0 comments

    This was an incredible start! We are super excited about the response we've had so far!

    We are especially grateful, because we have been working hard on the project for years, and it is exciting after months of so much effort to see this response from the community.

    Help us spread the word so we can make #mocapLibre a reality

  • We're live on Kickstarter! [over 60% funded!]

    Bruno Laurencich07/01/2020 at 14:28 0 comments

    The day has come, we're live on Kickstarter!

    This is a really important step for us towards becoming a sustainable project, this way we can guarantee the longevity of the Chordata Motion framework as you know it. This project was first started because there was no alternative to closed systems within the world of mocap, we wanted a mocap system with no restrictions of usage, that was easily tweakable and expandable

    We now need to continue protecting the values that gave birth to Chordata Motion, we are confident that it's possible because we have an active community that supports us. Now is the time to demonstrate as a user that you want Chordata Motion to continue to exist as we've envisioned it since the beginning: open.

    The first minutes of the campaign were really encouraging. We already reached the 30% percent of the required funding! But the more we collect, the more we will invest in the community. So please help us spread the word about this initiative! You already know where to find our communication channels, and if you are able to make the message arrive to places where we still have no presence better still!

  • Chordata Motion’s software Roadmap v1.0 2020-2021

    Bruno Laurencich06/23/2020 at 08:38 0 comments

    Many changes have occurred in the Chordata Motion framework lately, and many will happen in order to achieve the complete and flexible motion capture solution we envision.

    An initial milestone involves raising the funds through our upcoming Kickstarter campaign to create and produce the first production version hardware. Another important aspect of this system is software, and since this framework relies on many software pieces that interact to obtain the capture is easy for our users to loose track of all of them. That’s why we’ve been working on a revised plan that will allow everyone to have a clear view of the changes to come. You can see it here:

    Of course, roadmaps in software (and in particular those of open source projects) are living documents. Things might change with time, redistribution of resources and -more importantly- your feedback, so please let us know your ideas using this thread of our forum. We are also continuously collecting feedback on all our communication channels.

  • Our Crowdfunding campaing will go live in June 2020 with lower prices!

    Bruno Laurencich06/19/2020 at 11:38 0 comments

    After 3 months of lockdown due to COVID19, the KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN IS BACK! We’ve been working hard on adapting our offer to the current global reality. Our main focus was guaranteeing that you receive your rewards in the first few months of 2021.

    With this in mind, we’ve redesigned our sensing units in order to take more advantage of our current components, improve certain aspects of our design and take out some hardware extras that we wanted to cover in our production release. With this, we achieve a shorter development process, which allows us to guarantee our delivery dates, while also maintaining the performance quality that we’d like to reach.

    Optimizing our current system this way also allows us to make a unique offer: we’re lowering the price on all the kits we’re offering by 100€. The only exception will be our smallest kit, the Motion Starter, which will get a 45€ reduction. With this improvement, you’ll be able to get a full-body motion capture system for 699€ if you catch one of our limited Early-Bird kits!!!

    Don’t forget to pre-order your kit at This will be the only way to guarantee that you get one of our limited rewards, such as the Early Bird price.

    Watch the video Juancho recorded to know all the details:

  • The Notochord 0.2.0 has been released!

    Bruno Laurencich06/17/2020 at 13:34 0 comments

    This release implements the new sensor fusion algorithm. It brings improved accuracy and stability to the capture. It also includes a faster and more robust sensor calibration algorithm and it sends magnetic error data.

    Notochord v0.2.0 Changelog: 
    - Implements new Kalman-based sensor fusion algorithm. 
    - Transmits magnetic error data. 
    - Faster and more robust sensor calibration algorithm implemented in C. 
    - Drop dependency on GNU Octave.

    Here you can see the new algorithm in action

  • Chordata Motion coming soon on Kickstarter!

    Bruno Laurencich03/04/2020 at 15:08 0 comments

    The official release of the Chordata Motion kits will be carried out through a #Kickstarter campaign in a unique opportunity to access our #mocap kits at a special price.

    Chordata Motion is the first open-source motion capture system that integrates natively with #Blender. This campaign will also give us the opportunity of creating native integrations with widely used platforms such as #UnrealEngine, #GodotEngine, and #Unity.
    In addition to all this exciting news, one of our most anticipated features is finally becoming a reality! Chordata remote console will allow you to manage and record your capture from everywhere, including your smartphone!

    Sign up here  to know all the details of the campaign and be the first to know the exact launching date so that you can benefit from the early-bird rewards.

  • Mini K-Ceptor design

    Bruno Laurencich02/11/2020 at 12:40 0 comments

    Check out what a new Chordata user is doing! @valor developed a new version of the k-ceptor which has many of the functionalities of the usual K-ceptor and is much smaller, thus adapting to new situations in which the normal k-ceptor may come out as being too big.

    Thank you very much to @valor for contributing to with such a neat work.
    In the next few weeks, we'll include these new designs in our wiki.

    In the meantime, if you want to take a look at what @valor developed, you can visit his post in Chordata's forum.

  • New node-based Blender (2.8x) add-on

    Bruno Laurencich01/23/2020 at 15:07 0 comments

    The Chordata framework is composed of many programs working together to acheive the capture.

    As part of our upcoming release we are reworking several of these software pieces.

    For example, here's a DEMO containing some of the latest news about the upcoming version of our Blender add-on.  It will incude, among other new features, a completely redesigned interface with each of the core functionalities of the framework packed in a modular and flexible node.

  • Details about the official release coming soon.

    Bruno Laurencich01/09/2020 at 13:50 0 comments

    The Chordata team is back from Holidays and we have great plans for 2020. .

    We are preparing the official launch of the first production release of Chordata, which will be carried out during the first half of 2020. .

    We're eager to tell you the details, but we want to be cautious, as there is still much to plan before we can do so. If you want to be among the first to find out about the official launch, sign up here 👇🏼. .

    All those who sign up for the waitlist will have first-hand information about this new release as soon as it’s available!

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Laurent wrote 04/06/2019 at 19:32 point

Hy , I'm working in an animation studio , and would like to know if it was possible to test this great tools to help animators to improve theyre hard work , and bring a touch of realty into model's movements . 

thxn in advance :) Realy good project , and as far as I know rPI , arduino and sensors , I'm sure that this kind of afordable tool will become the must have in a near future :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Bruno Laurencich wrote 05/29/2019 at 10:36 point

Hi Laurent.

The first round of the betatesting is now over. There will be another one on the following months for sure. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter from to get the latest updates.

Otherwise you can always build the hardware by yourself. You will find information on our wiki.... more

  Are you sure? yes | no

Schimpansendodo wrote 03/02/2019 at 14:23 point

Hey Bruno Aswome project :).

Its possible to become a beta tester?

Greetings from Germany


  Are you sure? yes | no

Bruno Laurencich wrote 03/06/2019 at 12:24 point

Hello dominik!

We are currently evaluating the last few candidates of this betatesting batch. Please write us with a brief description of your background and how do you plan to use the system and you might still have a chance.

Or, if you don't make it on this round we will probably open a second one on the following months.

more info here:

  Are you sure? yes | no

eduard.b wrote 11/24/2018 at 01:26 point

Hi Bruno, awesome what are you doing here, i want to ask if you have any costume for sale already ....

  Are you sure? yes | no

Bruno Laurencich wrote 12/27/2018 at 17:14 point

Hi Eduard,

Currently we're preparing an initial prototype offer that we expect to release by January 2019 as part of our first Beta testing program. Keep in mind that there will only be a limited amount of suits produced during this period.

Once the Beta period is over we will start offering the first production release which price and release date is still to be determined.

If you are interested on participating on the beta testing program please get in touch with us.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Ember Leona wrote 10/08/2018 at 05:46 point

I think the quality of the video makes it harder to motion capture maybe downgrading video or low ISO or black and white with lights can help motion capture at least in a 2d projected sense. Have you seen that wiimote hack by john on youtube. He flipped the wiimote IR camera around and put IR leds in the eyeglasses I want to use this method but without the wiimote. With this head tracking you can animate the 4d space inside of a TV like when you move you head and look out a small with or make a circle or square with your hands and look through it while moving your head its somekind of parallax effect.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Ember Leona wrote 10/08/2018 at 05:47 point

 if you want to reduce latency

  Are you sure? yes | no

Bruno Laurencich wrote 10/12/2018 at 10:04 point

I'm not sure I completely understand what are you talking about. This project relies in inertial and magnetic sensors to achieve the capture and has no visual input. In one of our videos (the one with some outdoors takes) there is in fact some annoying latency, they were made on the rush using a crappy laptop as a client and the registered captures resulted  slightly out sync. We are making some modification in our client software in order for it to prevent these syncing issues on the recording, but the core system has no noticeable delay when capturing live, as you can see on this video:

  Are you sure? yes | no

Ember Leona wrote 10/08/2018 at 05:42 point

How much would this cost me? Also I had an idea for hand HumanInterfaceDevice I called binaryFingers I wanted to try mocap with reflected lights or maybe IR leds that can stick to face. That idea is more for facial animations. might have it or or 2

  Are you sure? yes | no

Bruno Laurencich wrote 10/12/2018 at 10:11 point

We are preparing our tindie store were you will be able to purchase pre assembled kits. We expect to have it running by the end of 2018. In the meantime you have all the information necessary to build your own suit on this project page, our website, or gitlab repositories. Is not an expensive suit at all

  Are you sure? yes | no

nenadvkc wrote 08/18/2018 at 22:38 point

This is amazing, are you considering adding position capture to your system?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Bruno Laurencich wrote 08/19/2018 at 08:36 point

When working with inertial-based capture, position tracking is kind of an indirect feature, it depends on having a good inner-pose tracking. At the moment we are working on delivering a solid inner-pose, and a smooth user experience. We expect to achieve these goals with our first release. After that, position tracking is one of the main objectives.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Ember Leona wrote 10/15/2018 at 06:10 point

So these are gyroscopes? Like Accelerometers in phone?

  Are you sure? yes | no

JAMES MARK WILSON wrote 07/18/2018 at 05:34 point

great stuff

  Are you sure? yes | no

Bruno Laurencich wrote 07/20/2018 at 10:11 point

thanks :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Sophi Kravitz wrote 07/16/2018 at 18:14 point

Pretty exciting project... def interested!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Bruno Laurencich wrote 07/20/2018 at 10:11 point

Honored by your interest Sophi, I saw you doing pretty cool stuff around here!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Patrick Lowry wrote 07/16/2018 at 15:30 point

Awesome, guys.  This is something I've been thinking about for a while now, so very please to see someone actually doing it.   I'm keen on mixing the mocap with VR.  I look forward to you release the instructions in August.  Best of luck.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Bruno Laurencich wrote 07/16/2018 at 17:10 point

Thanks! looking forward to see what you can do with it!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Francois Medina wrote 05/02/2018 at 15:10 point

Amazing project! I am eager to build mine alongside the instruction when it will be release.I am an absolute zero at these electronic things but I would love to build a mocap suit for 3D animation. As a 3D artist, if I can help you in some ways, please reach out to me.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Bruno Laurencich wrote 05/25/2018 at 17:20 point

hi Francois, I have good news for you, the first release is coming! The idea is to create a system that can be assembled with no previous knowledge, only the will to do it ;)

  Are you sure? yes | no

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