Hold on to your 3D motion controllers folks…they just became a whole lot more useful!

Article by Chris Briand, CSWE updated June 27, 2011


3DConnexion SpaceNavigator

Like many folks, I’ve had a 3D motion controller sitting on or near my desk for years now.  One of
the things that frustrated me with motion controllers in general, and specifically the motion
controllers manufactured by 3DConnexion, was that their usage was limited to a very, very few
applications.  3DConnexion has addressed this little hiccup with their 3DxWare 10 driver platform.

The applications for which the 3D motion controller or 3D mouse(s) were mainly of the CAD genre
as originally intended.  For any other application you wanted to support, either 3DConnexion had to
produce a built in profile (In the case of Photoshop) or you had to dig-in to their configuration files,
attempt to figure out some of the language and write your own mapped configuration file to do the job. This was far too painful and time consuming for me to even consider – so there my SpaceNavigator sat, unused and lonely (at least 80% of the time anyway).

Being a heavy user of photo based graphics applications I have been looking at other input
hardware such as Wacom Tablets and Logitech’s new auxiliary navigation devices, and been further
frustrated by the fact that I have something super cool on my desk that should do the same job…. at
least in theory.

I am rather pleased to report that 3Dconnexion has addressed this productivity gap with the beta
release of their 3DxWare 10 driver platform, it’s now possible to use a 3D mouse in any application
with the ability to map keyboard commands to specific motions on the controller.

The 3DxWare 10 platform is still in beta, and I have encountered a few connection glitches thus far,
as I have been testing it using Adobe’s Lightroom product. It does take a bit of time to sort out the
balance between the mapped keys and the threshold sliders, however the results are promising.
Overall it has improved my workflow in Lightroom substantially offering me more control over how I
navigate and sort images.

The Beta software for 3DxWare 10 is not officially supported, and we do not yet have a release date
for the first full release, but keep your eye on this one folks – I think it is going to make a fantastic
addition to your general computing tools.

3Dconnexion is actively looking for feedback on their 3DxWare 10 Beta Forum whether or not to
continue development and for what features to develop for the latest release of their drivers.

If there was ever something you wished you could do with the motion controller – Now is the time!

Oh and of course, don’t forget that it works fantastic in SolidWorks and has the potential to improve your design productivity.

Let 3Dconnexion know what your thoughts are.

The 3Dconnexion forum may be found at   http://www.3dconnexion.com/forum/
The Beta for the 3DxWare 10 driver platform is available at the following URL: http://www.3dconnexion.com/supported-software/3dxlabs.html

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Chris Briand, CSWE

Chris has been educating and supporting Engineers, Designers and IT Personnel within the 3D CAD industry since 2002, and was adopted into the fantastic team of applications experts here at Javelin Technologies in early 2006 and migrated along with his team members to the TriMech Solutions team in 2021.  Chris enjoys the continuous learning driven by the ingenuity and challenges Designers bring forward. Innovation using 3D Printing, 3D CAD and other technologies, combined with a diverse background as a technologist, allows Chris to find solutions that accelerate Designers, and take Design Teams to new heights. Chris is currently being held at an undisclosed location, near Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.