For the regular readers of our blog, this review can be viewed as a follow up to the overview provided on 3D mouse and how they aid navigation or communication with a 3D interface. And in keeping to our promise of providing you with insightful contents revolving around tech, here is a well-rounded review of a 3D mouse from the design studio of 3D Connexion—the Space Mouse Wireless.
To simplify this review, we shall break it down into 4 sections aimed at explaining what the Space mouse Wireless has to offer and these sections are; an introduction to the Space Mouse, outlining its features, discussing its pricing/commercial offers and finally scoring its performance.
Introducing the Space Mouse Wireless
The space Mouse wireless which was released sometime in October 2013 has that estimable distinction of being the first wireless 3D mouse available to the CAD community on a commercial basis and in terms of design build, the device closely resembles that of your ordinary device with the difference been that it functions wirelessly.
- Controller Cap—A movable knoblike head for 3 dimensional navigation
- A base—attached to the mouse head as support and
- A micro USB receiver—to be attached to a personal computer
Once the box has been un-packed, the user sees the three above components and also an instructional DVD on how to install the receiver as well as make use of the 3D mouse. These are the items that make up the packaged Space Mouse. Next, the broken down review:
The Space Mouse Wireless Features
As with all innovations, the physical design of the 3D Mouse has evolved with time.
The average traditional mouse which comes with a beetle shaped support base that housed a navigation track ball and two clickable buttons to handle tasks has now evolved into a rounded rectangular shaped bottom with curved sides.
On using the Space Mouse, it was instantly obvious why these changes were incorporated and this was because it provided a far more stable support than its predecessors making it a more compact model.
While the micro-receiver, resembles the average USB drive used worldwide there, the slim build of this device makes it a universal fit for all personal computers and CAD workstations. Finally, the features that make it work are the;
- Connexion patented Six Degree of Freedom: this innovative feature can be likened to the roller balls that give a regular mouse its navigation powers only that it navigates better than your average traditional mouse. The technology used incorporates six high performance optical sensors that react instantly to the movements of the controller cap.
- The Controller Cap: the controller cap is the round protruding knob that can be seen at the top of the supporting base, and this cap comes with 4 ridges equally spaced along its sides to make holding and handling the otherwise slippery navigation head easy. The controller cap working in-tandem with the optical sensors can be manoeuvred in 6 different ways when seeking a specific view which gives it better navigational abilities than the traditional mouse.
- The Space Mouse Wireless Base: the base of the space—which has been described below—serves as both a base for the controller cap and as home to two clickable buttons of the 3D mouse that can be found at its sides. The two side buttons carry out the functions of ‘right and left click’ native to a traditional desktop mouse.
Using the Space Mouse Wireless
The first step to using the Space Mouse is definitely installing all the drivers integrated into the device so they synchronize with whatever 3D CAD application is been used. This is quite important for a poorly installed 3D mouse will definitely not function to its full capabilities and for this review; Space Mouse was tested/used on MAYA 3D. So here are the pros and cons:
- The navigation prowess of Connexion’s six degree of freedom brings joy to the navigation process
- It reduces the time spent communicating with your keyboard to a bare minimum—that is for only the use of shortcuts—as you can handle other motions with the 3D mouse
- You can also customize the two side/radial buttons to the functions you use most thereby simplifying design process
- Overall, the Space Mouse Wireless increases the fun of modelling on a 3D interface
The cons of using the Space Mouse Wireless are mostly few and down to personal errors such as:
- Bad installation which drastically affects performance
- The time taken to get used to working with a 3D mouse and
- The pricing which is quite steep when compared to the cost of the average traditional mouse
Specification and Pricing
Minimum System Requirements
* Windows XP Professional (SP2, SP3), Windows XP Professional x64 Edition (RTM, SP2 and SP3)
* Windows Vista (RTM, SP1 and SP2, all editions)
* Windows 7 (RTM and SP1, all editions)
* AIX 5.2 ML04 or newer
* HP-UX 11 or newer
* Linux Redhat Enterprise WS 4, 5, Novell SuSE Linux 9.3, 10, 11
* Sun Solaris 9/04 or newer, Sun Solaris 10 (x86/x64)
* USB port
* Apple OS X 10.8
* Apple OS X 10.7
* Apple OS X 10.6
As for pricing, the Space Mouse Wireless costs approximately $140 and this cost can be broken down into:
- The 3D mouse Connexion Package—$125
- Micro USB cord—$5
- Micro USB Receiver—$10
After all has been said and done, the Space Mouse is a tech device that is set to revolutionize how we communicate with 3D interfaces and even applications with 2D interfaces that can be found on Google chrome. Although the pricing may seem steep when compared to the cost of the traditional desktop mouse, the device still gives good value for your money.