Aiming to help engineers streamline CAD operations and
reduce interruptions to their work flow, 3Dconnexion
has released what it claims is its most powerful 3-D mouse yet – the SpacePilot
SpacePilot PRO, now the flagship offering in 3Dconnexion's
mice fleet, was designed to address three top concerns among 3Dconnexion
customers, according to Froi Lomotan, an engineer on the SpacePilot PRO team.
The unit, aimed at the core engineer who spends at least four hours a day working
with an MCAD tool, makes it easier to access the power of professional 3-D
applications, helps minimize interruptions in the design workflow and has been
retooled to deliver improved comfort.
Unlike traditional mice, which are confined to motion on a
flat plane, 3-D mice enable engineers to move in all three dimensions
simultaneously, taking advantage of 3Dconnexion's six-degrees-of-freedom sensor
technology. As a result, engineers are able to easily pan, zoom and rotate models
as one integrated movement, unlike traditional mice, which require them to
select and initiate the operations as separate commands.
"With 3-D mice, engineers don't have to think about the
steps involved in panning, rotating or doing edits on a model," Lomotan says. "It makes for a much more seamless and productive workflow."
One of the primary new features of the new unit is the LCD
Workflow Assistant, an additional color LCD, which lists function-key
assignments and provides at-a-glance access to traditional office data and
tools, including email, calendars and task lists. 3Dconnexion delivers this
capability within an open software architecture, so developers can further
extend the capability with additional applets, Lomotan says. The LCD Workflow
Assistant lets engineers integrate their regular business workflows with their
engineering workflows, allowing them, for example, to view emails in the LCD
panel. In this way, they could determine whether or not something is important
enough to interrupt their design work. The LCD Workflow Assistant can also be
leveraged for improved communications with a design team, using the window to
reach out with Twitter or other
collaboration tools, he adds.
In addition to the LCD Workflow Assistant, the SpacePilot
PRO offers advanced MCAD navigation via five new dual-function QuickView keys.
The QuickView keys deliver quick access to 32 standard views, including top and
bottom, right and left, front and back and 90-degree view rotations. By easily being
able to look at a design from multiple angles, engineers can more easily detect
errors and conduct more effective design reviews, Lomotan says. There are also
five new fully customizable, dual-function keys offered on the new model (up
from two on older units), which offer immediate, one-touch access to 10
frequently used commands within any of the supported CAD programs. The
SpacePilot PRO will automatically detect the active CAD application and assign
the appropriate function keys accordingly.
In the area of improved comfort, the SpacePilot PRO
has a new symmetrical layout for its function keys so the device can be used
with either hand. There is also a new sculpted, soft-coated wrist rest and
improved fingertip control. The unit, which is supported by over 130 leading
3-D applications, is available now for $499.