The 3 Most Creative Uses of 3D Mice

    Posted by 3DxBlog Team on May 23, 2014 10:26:00 AM

    3D mice dronesWe know that creative people use 3D mice. Engineers, architects and 3D professionals employ the devices to work better, faster and more comfortably in their favorite design applications.

    But what about the wild, wonderful world of hobbyist uses for 3D mice? We collected some of the most creative uses for 3D mice outside of CAD applications. The folks we mention get innovative with how they put 3D mice to work—from hacking them into a remote control to navigating the entire (virtual) globe. 

    Use a 3D Mouse to Fly Drones 

    Remember those remote controllers that came standard with every toy helicopter and car you had growing up—the ones with two joysticks, one controlling the x-axis and one controlling the y-axis? Many have less than fond memories of the struggle to manipulate the toy’s direction and speed simultaneously. 

    A few individuals solved this irritation by hacking their 3D mice in an attempt to navigate objects in real space—and it worked. 

    Why a 3D mouse? Evidently, 3D mice make just as great controllers as they do design tools. It provides the same six-degrees-of-freedom and exact precision as it does when designing, making your navigation experience unrivaled—both on the computer and off. 

    Germany-based company MULTIROTOR by service-drone.com finds that using a 3D mouse to fly the copter is very intuitive, using the device to pilot the vehicle in all directions with just one hand.

    Not only does a 3D mouse make for a smooth copter controller, but the company adds, “The 3D mouse is also suitable as an additional control. Parallel to the pilot’s, and completely independent, [the 3D mouse] can control the onboard camera so the pilot can take care of flying while the camera operator [executes on] clean pans.” 

    Check out this video to see how they tapped into the power of the SpaceNavigator to recognize the freedom of unrestricted control for flying their drones.      

    How did they do it? 

    Robert Stadie here at 3Dconnexion took a stab at a similar navigation project with an AR Drone and posted his step-by-step process on the 3Dconnexion forum page

    Tell a Robot What to Do

    Similar to controlling drones, some robotics engineers set out to manipulate their robot’s movements with the same six-degrees-of-freedom at their fingertips. Projects range from sorting peanuts and controlling servos to navigating water depths. Even Kawasaki Robotics is experimenting with controlling their robots via 3D mouse style.

    The use of 3D mice in robotics creates a seamless connection between engineer and robot thus unlocking the potential for unrivaled precision.

    While the manipulation of robotics brings mechanical designs to life, others wanted to fly, explore and control within the bounds of computer-aided 3D space.

    SpaceNavigate the Globe 

    Google Earth isn’t just a cool tool to visualize the planet’s surface, feature and cities in 3D. It’s a way of life for thousands of 3D hobbyists who use the tool daily to discover incredible vistas—including ones that have never been previously seen

    And like the great adventurers of old, these modern-day virtual explorers pack the right tools for their expeditions, namely 3Dconnexion 3D mice. 3D mice provide the smoothest, most intuitive navigation experience possible in Google Earth. Creative digital travelers use them to pan, zoom and rotate within Google Earth like never before.

    Want to learn more about all the cool things you can do in Google Earth? Check out the Google Earth Blog one of the premier places on the web for Google Earth enthusiasts.

    Have you gotten creative with your 3D mouse? Share the unique way you use your design buddy in the comments below. 

    NOTE: For some of these projects, hardware / software hacking or modding is required. 3Dconnexion is unable to provide technical support and you may affect your product warranty trying any non-supported hacks or modifications. Uses of 3Dconnexion products in Google Earth, however, are officially supported by 3Dconnexion.

    Photo Credit: TBWABusted via Flickr

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    Tags: Design, 3D Mice, Creativity