Intelligent Machines

Mouse for 3-D Navigation

  • June 9, 2008

The computer mouse was designed to control a pointer on a 2-D desktop, not to navigate virtual worlds like Second Life or other 3-D environments. 3Dconnexion’s new controller has a cap you can lift or depress, slide from side to side, tilt, or twist, and some combination of those actions will let you move in any direction in a 3-D environment or manipulate 3-D objects. And because the device is pressure sensitive, it also lets you control rate of movement.

In April, Linden Lab’s Second Life upgraded its software to support the year-old Space Navigator, which also works with about 130 other applications, including Google Earth. Intended to supplement an ordinary mouse, the Space Navigator frees the user from having to switch back and forth from mouse to keyboard, thereby avoiding stops and starts that can be awkward when navigating a 3-D space. The user controls movement through the Space Navigator with his nondominant hand and employs the regular mouse to take actions within the space. This device system works particularly well with Second Life’s recent support for voice communication, which, combined with the Space Navigator, makes it possible for a user to move and interact within the virtual world without having to utilize the keyboard at all.

Product: Space Navigator PE 3D Mouse

Cost: $59
Source: www.3dconnexion.com
Companies: 3Dconnexion

Tech Obsessive?
Become an Insider to get the story behind the story — and before anyone else.

Subscribe today

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Intelligent Machines

Artificial intelligence and robots are transforming how we work and live.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Basic.
  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning magazine and daily delivery of The Download, our newsletter of what’s important in technology and innovation.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.