I really wish I could remember where I found this.. somewhere online when I was googling animation and motion capture and stuff.
I didn't read the whole thing, but the first two/three pages seem to explain it well. I think it's a lot like the wii thing people made last year?
Anyways, it looks like it's just two rods that the animator holds and moves around to animate various parts of the character. It looks pretty cool.
link to download the pdf: