six degrees-of-freedom 3-D navigation afforded by 3-D mice has typically been
reserved for highly specialized applications like those for engineering and
design. 3Dconnexion, a leader in the 3-D mice space, is aiming to
break that barrier with the introduction of a new driver platform that extends
the use of 3-D mice to any application, from Microsoft Office to web browsers
to media players and games.
The new 3DxWare 10 driver
platform for PC and Mac lets users assign keyboard strokes and traditional mouse
or joystick movements in any combination to any of 3Dconnexion's 3-D mouse models.
As such, users can get the benefit of the flexible six degrees-of-freedom
movement to, say, tilt the controller cap to scroll a Web page or twist the cap
to adjust the volume in iTunes. Users can choose whatever application they want
to support with the 3-D mouse and use the driver platform to assign the six
axes and up to 31 function keys (it varies with the 3-D mouse model).
"The 3DxWare 10 driver platform
represents a new era for our 3-D mice," says Dieter Neujahr, president of
3Dconnexion, in a prepared release. "Our customers have told us they want to be
able to use their 3-D mice with everyday applications."
some ways 3Dconnexion recommends using the 3DxWare 10 driver platform to put
3-D mice to work in everyday computing:
Instead of using traditional mouse wheel navigation to
search through documents, spreadsheets or Web pages, users can tilt a 3-D mouse
cap to scroll the view up or down and twist the cap for zooming.
While most PC gamers rely on a
combination of a traditional mouse and keyboard to control their characters or
camera view, a 3-D mouse can deliver more intuitive and comfortable
control as well as emulate a joy stick or gamepad.
Control your media player simply by twisting the cap to
adjust volume, tilting the cap sideways to fast forward or rewind and tilting
the cap back and forth to move between tracks in a play list.
Professional users can take advantage of a new feature
delivered by 3DxWare 10 that lets multiple 3-D mice be used on one workstation.
This supports easier viewing of 3-D models, aiding in group design reviews and
client presentations, 3Dconnexion officials say.
I watched some videos of the SpacePilot Pro, it looks like an interesting device. As someone who does solidmodel drafting, I am not sure where I would use this. I suppose it can let your other hand perform some of the movement options. Sound like it mends you with the machine, making us all CAD jockeys to the max. Perhaps my 3D models are not advanced enough to require this level of control.
My mind immediately went to "how can this be used for video games?" Could it be an excellent replacement for the WASD key layout. At $350+, I don't think I will be investigating it any time soon. An interesting product non-the-less.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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