3Dconnexion SpaceNavigator: First Look

3Dconnexion SpaceNavigator: First Look

The SpaceNavigator can be used with some 3D applications.

 

I recently met with 3Dconnexion, a subsidiary of Logitech. 3Dconnexion makes input devices for 3D applications, and they let me play with their SpaceNavigator. As you can see by the picture, the SpaceNavigator is a knob controller.

 

In January, 3Dconnexion announced Mac support for the SpaceNavigator. They recently added Adobe Photoshop CS3 and Google Earth 4.1 support. I tried the SpaceNavigator with Google Earth; the device is also compatible with form-Z, Maya, QuickTime VR, and Google SketchUp.

 

Using a device like the SpaceNavigator is a much more efficient way to move through 3D worlds. There's no more clunky point, click, grab, pan, etc. You simply turn, press, pull, and tilt the SpaceNavigator - it doesn't sound easier, but it is. It takes some practice to learn the nuances of a navigational knob, but it's worth it if you frequently use one of the compatible apps.

 

In the movie below, you can see the difference a navigational knob like the SpaceNavigator makes in a 3D application such as Google Earth.

 

 

Points to consider:

> More efficient to use in a 3D space than a mouse/keyboard.

> Inexpensive ($60).

> Very limited number of compatible apps.

> Currently has no support as a jog wheel in audio/video apps (a SDK is available from 3Dconnexion).

 

We'll post a full review in the coming weeks and in the September issue of Mac|Life.

 

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John Hillier

Since the magazine is doing a full review of Space Navigator I'd be interested in knowing how useful it is with Autodesk Maya for modeling, etc. I currently use Maya 8.5 on OS X Tiger 10.4.9 and interested in this product. Autodesk has a PLE (Personal Learning Edition) trial of Maya for OS X which the magazine could use to evaluate the product as part of the review.

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