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Input Devices Hardware Hacking

Intelligent Thimble Could Replace the Mouse In 3D Virtual Reality Worlds 65

New submitter anguyen8 (3736553) writes with news of an interesting experimental spatial input device. From the article: "The mouse is a hugely useful device but it is also a two-dimensional one. But what of the three-dimensional world and the long-standing, but growing, promise of virtual reality. What kind of device will take the place of the mouse when we begin to interact in three-dimensions? Anh Nguyen and Amy Banic ... have created an intelligent thimble that can sense its position accurately in three-dimensions and respond to a set of pre-programmed gestures that allow the user to interact with objects in a virtual three-dimensional world. ... The result is the 3DTouch, a thimble-like device that sits on the end of a finger, equipped with a 3D accelerometer, a 3D magnetometer, and 3D gyroscope. That allows the data from each sensor to be compared and combined to produce a far more precise estimate of orientation than a single measurement alone. In addition, the 3DTouch has an optical flow sensor that measures the movement of the device against a two-dimensional surface, exactly like that inside an ordinary mouse." The prototype is wired up to an Arduino Uno, with a program on the host machine polling the device and converting the data into input events. A video of it in action is below the fold, a pre-print of the research paper is on arxiv, and a series of weblog entries explain some of the development.

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Intelligent Thimble Could Replace the Mouse In 3D Virtual Reality Worlds

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  • by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Monday July 07, 2014 @08:56PM (#47404263)

    3DConexion, formerly Spacware/Spacetech and possibly a few other names have had advance 3D positioning devices since forever ago, replacing buttons and dials in CAD and CAE software. A thimble is not going to be more or less ergonomic. As with mice, I'm sure it's a personal preference so someone will like it better.The Spaceball however is designed for use with a relaxed hand and does much more than 3D positioning. Like zooming, centering, and what ever else you program the buttons to do

    If you want to take "it's position" as the starting point I'll argue that the ergonomics is less than that of a Spaceball, and more in line with motion detecting devices that again we have had for well over a decade. The thimble won't be as useful in HFE, because open and closed hands are at least as important as position and rotation.

    In short, this is a wheel that's already been invented. I don't see anything "novel" or even better than what we have had already. Maybe if fits a niche I'm not aware of or care much about.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"