3D Space Mouse Pro Wireless Review

The tendency to constantly upgrade software applications and tools in the computer aided design community is one that has been well documented and a design enthusiast can simply look to Autodesk as the perfect example of a manufacturer that consistently upgrades its products—even when not needed—for its teeming fans.

Borrowing a leaf from Autodesk’s playbook, 3D Connexion planned to outdo themselves and their initial 3D mouse—the Space Mouse wireless—by releasing to the public an upgrade or newer version known as the Space Mouse Pro. 3D connexions job was to produce the device—which they did—and now, our job is to let you know if this product is a hit or miss. So here is our review.

Once again, we will be making use of the grading system employed in reviewing the Space Mouse wireless and this system will take into consideration, 3 aspects relating to the Space Mouse Pro and its usability/functions.

The three aspects to be considered are; its features, ease of use, specification and pricing. At the end of the day, a final score will be awarded to this 3D mouse as well as a recommendation based on its capabilities.

Introducing the Space Mouse Pro

3d-mouseThe space Mouse Pro is the second wireless 3D mouse designed and developed by design power house—3D Connexion. The device which was designed as heir apparent to the—now ordinary looking—Space Mouse wireless comes with beautiful aesthetics that will make the most ‘anti 3D mouse’ designer want to test drive its features and uses…And yes it does look that beautiful. The mouse is made up of these three basic components like its predecessor;

  1. A controller Cap—for 3 dimensional movements
  2. An aesthetic base—which serves as a support base for both the controller cap and side buttons
  3. A micro USB receiver—to make near field/wireless communication possible.

After purchasing the device and unpacking—which is quite easy—the first time user will first marvel at its beauty before noticing the other components of the box which consists of an installation DVD and the micro USB receiver. Next, to use the Space Mouse Pro, you connect the USB receiver to your computer, hit the start button and are welcomed into the world of navigation with a 3D mouse.

The Features of the 3D Space Mouse Pro

3D Connexion definitely took the challenge of outdoing themselves seriously.

In terms of ergonomics, there can be no doubt that this device is better crafted than its predecessor and it is equipped with the normal features as well as some extra ones as outlined below:

  • The controller cap—at the head of the device is the controller cap equipped with Connexion’s patented 6 degree of freedom technology which was developed to make navigation easy and fun to do with the 3D mouse. To also ensure that the user’s grip remains firm, the 4 groves at the sides of the controller cap makes a return to simplify the movement and navigation processes of the Space Mouse Pro.
  • The Wireless Base—3D Connexion ensured that the controller cap gets all the support it needs by providing a broader and wider base which both supports the navigation cap and the several buttons at the right and left sides of the mouse pad/base.
  • The Right-sided Buttons—at the right hand side of the base there are several navigation buttons designed to serve both viewing and panning functions. Therefore, the user can now make use of specific orthographic views and angles when interacting with a 3D workspace.
  • The Left-sided Buttons—the buttons at the left are replacement keys for traditional functions such as right and left clicking. These buttons can also be customized according to the user’s requirements thereby eliminating the need for constantly returning to your keyboard to access some shortcuts/functions.

Using the Space Mouse Pro

The first step to using the Space Mouse Pro is definitely installing the required drivers and customizing the 3D mouse to meet your own specific requirements. At our end, carrying out these functions was a walk through as most of the information you need are on the 3D connexion website.

Also installing and updating the needed drivers should be done via tutorials from the website. After learning these basics, the next step was designing a simple 3D model on MAYA which provided the information for outlining the pros and cons below:

Pros:

  • The Space Mouse Pro—if adequately calibrated—eliminates the repetitive gestures and functions that CAD is notorious for, due to the fact that once you customize the 15 available buttons to meet your needs, regular visits to your keyboard will be a thing of the past.
  • 3D Navigation—working with the Pro can be likened to reaching into your computer with your hands and manipulating any sketch or model you want. The device really gives you such control and navigation abilities.
  • Going Wireless—eliminating the need for connecting cords while working on your office desk is always a big advantage.
  • It is poised to be the navigational device of the future so getting conversant with it is recommended.

Cons:

  • Pricing—when compared to its predecessor or your traditional mouse, the price of the Space Mouse Pro can seem a bit steep.
  • Ease of use—getting used to the functions of the device might take some time and its two handed functions may be a bit strange to new users.

Specifications 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

MAC Requirements
* Apple OS X 10.8
* Apple OS X 10.7
* Apple OS X 10.6

Pricing—at $279, the Space Mouse Pro could be seen as a huge investment by some.

Finally, it is important to note that we believe the pros of using the Space Mouse Pro wireless far out weights the cons and its acceptance into the main stream CAD community will definitely be a pleasure as more designers acquire the device. So with a score of 4.3/5, the Space Mouse Pro takes a bow.

3D Space Mouse wireless Review

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.

3D-Space-Mouse-wireless-ReviewThe Space Mouse wireless—developed by 3D Connexion—is made up of three major components which are:

  • 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;

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

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

MAC Requirements

* 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

Final Thoughts

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.

Final Score—4.1/5

What Is A 3D Mouse?

Imagine using a traditional horizontal mouse with your dominant hand. So far, so good. But what if there was another mouse in your other hand, letting you make use of functions that make your work a breeze? That’s where 3D mouse comes in. It is by no means the answer to dethroning the traditional mouse but a companion piece. It lets you take advantage of your computer display to pan, zoom and rotate 3D models on-screen.

Who Are 3D Mice Made For?

As you might have guessed by now, this 3D mouse is aimed at people who work with 3D assets on their workstation. Character designers, 3D model makers, CAD drafters, animators, visual artists, all of them can greatly benefit from a 3D mouse.

This sure does save them the trouble to press a bunch of keys to pan, scan, zoom and select 3D objects in the course of their work. It changes your work in a fundamental way. And there’s no looking back once you experience it and feel the change. But first, let us look at how 3D mice are benefiting today’s graphic artists in their work:

21% Productivity Boost

According to many survey and case studies, 3D artists have one major issue when it comes to doing their work – the endless zooming and changing of perspectives to sculpt the perfect 3D model. So much time is lost trying to get to a bunch of shortcut keys that can let artists get to the perspective that they want that it gets mildly irritating to lose all that productive time.

It’s like finding a needle in a haystack. Navigating, creating and editing a 3D model should be seamless, almost as easy as scrolling on a mouse.

A 3D mouse contains all the common controls that are required to work in the 3D perspective:
• Tilt • Zoom • Spin • Roll • Pan left/right • Pan up/down

All these functions are built in a 3D mouse. They are intuitive to the touch.

Comfort

Did you know that using a 3D mouse means a decrease of 50% in mouse clicks and in mouse movement when creating a model? That’s how much time-saving and comfort-focused they are. Time is money in 3D graphics industry since rendering high quality models takes a long while as it is. So, why not make those models a lot quicker with the help of a 3D mouse?

Performance Booster

The utility of a 3D mouse isn’t limited to 3D modeling only. You can use it even when you are making a sketch and are looking for fine-tuned control over your input. Navigate through your canvas space effortlessly. Explore your models in detail and rectify errors which would otherwise mean the difference between starting from scratch or taken care of in the initial design period.

Most Popular 3D Mice

Here are some of the most amazing 3D mice in the market today:

3D Connexion Spacemouse Pro Wireless

Description

3d-mouseThe 3D connexion SpaceMouse Pro Wireless is a professional grade 3D mouse designed for use in the best 3D design houses of the world. Plus, it’s wireless, with no tangled wires to bother you.

Pros

It delivers professional performance: accuracy, control, personalization and hotkeys. There are so many features packed in the SpaceMouse Pro Wireless. It is built for ergonomics, which means you won’t strain your hand by using it over long periods of time. It comes with a ridiculously long 2-month battery life, which means you won’t be changing batteries after every other week.

Cons

There have been some reported issues regarding the wireless connectivity of the SpaceMouse Pro. However, these are few and in between and nothing a proper installation of Bluetooth drivers can’t solve.

3D Connexion Spacemouse Wireless

Description

3d-mouseThe spacemouse wireless series from 3D Connexion was made for the normal consumer who wishes to see what the fuss about 3D mice is all about. This is the entry-level product from 3D Connexion which doesn’t skimp on the essential features even with its price tag and niche-ness.

Pros

This mouse is truly wireless. In fact, it was the first wireless 3D mouse to debut in the market. There are no cords to worry about with this product as you can wirelessly zoom and explore your 3D models without pressing a bunch of keys on the keyboard to accomplish this.

This 3D mouse is rechargeable. And the included USB cable reflects that. Also, if you want to save up on the wireless battery level, you can continue to use the 3D Mouse wired with the USB cable as well. This is possible with the included drivers CD with the Spacemouse Wireless.

The battery lasts for as long as a month, which is good enough for most 3D design enthusiasts and professionals.

As for wireless connectivity, the device interacts with a microUSB receiver that’s included with the product and plugged into the PC. It’s a sleek, stylish, and modern looking product. But don’t let that fool you when it comes to its purely functional design. 3D connexion has paid attention to its ergonomics as well and with the SpaceMouse, it clearly shows.

A rounded square shape with curved sides only serves to keep strain and RSI related symptoms at bay, prioritizing functionality without sacrificing comfort in the process.
And what’s more, it reacts to pressure, letting you zoom and edit your way to complex 3D models over the X, Y and Z axes.

Cons

The SpaceMouse Wireless is bulk at almost a pound, thanks to its base aluminum design and rubber skids. This doesn’t make it portable but that’s a tradeoff that one can make, especially considering the product’s usage and application purposes. Some users have reported that the product works fine with just one viewpoint open in their workstations.

The performance seems mixed when opening multiple viewpoints for 3D models, nothing a future device driver update from 3D connexion can’t fix. It’s a nuisance though.

Final words

3D Mouse can make a world of a difference to the way you work and observe your 3D models. Instead of fidgeting with the controls with your mouse and keyboard both, the 3D mouse includes one-touch and instant controls to common 3D modeling functionalities. This can significantly make designers focus on their work and making their models better. If you are working in the 3D graphics industry, you owe it to yourself to buy one. Try them out today to get a feel for the thing.

The Foot Mouse and 3D Modeling

Since its inception in the 80’s, the field of computer aided design has experienced numerous innovations in terms of both the software applications currently been used for design as well as the hardware tools available for drafting. Today, our focus will be placed on a particular innovation set to transform how we interact with a CAD workspace, and simplify the design process. This hardware tool is known as the foot mouse.

The Foot Mouse

foot-mouseAs the name suggests, a foot mouse is a directional device or a type of computer mouse that can be used to move a cursor and other mouse buttons with your feet.

In lay man terms, a foot mouse can be compared to the foot sewing machine tailors make use of when sewing. And as in fashion, the foot mouse reduces the over-reliance on the fingers and the upper body problems—back ache, neck ache—that comes with spending hours on a design project.

How it Functions

Although there are approximately 10 types of foot mouse, the average foot mouse is made up of the following components:

  • Either a flat foot surface that allows directional movements or
  • A foot mouse designed as a tilting pedal which can also be turned in diverse directions

These components ensures that the user can perform clicking tasks by stepping on the pedal or foot surface as well as carry out 3 dimensional movements by rotating the foot mouse from side to side. These components and features make it possible to use the rather clumsy eye-to-foot-combination humans experience to interact with a 3D CAD workspace.

Interacting with a 3D Interface Using the Foot Mouse

Now, it is important to note that the foot mouse is still in its developmental stage and you may not even be able to purchase one due to the fact that the ones in circulation are basically prototypes for beta testing. That been said, the foot mouse’s operational patterns and features still lags behind those of your regular desktop or 3D mouse. Still, the device can be used to interact with a 3D interface in the following ways:

  1. The foot pedal: the foot pedal or surface click mirrors the left click functions of your average desktop mouse for it allows the user select models, diagrams and options on a workspace.
  2. The directional movements—which are quite limited—provides the directional navigation needed to execute functions such as move, zoom and pan.
  3. The foot pedal/surface and the directional features can also be used in combination to view a 3D model as well as choose certain spots on the 3D interface.

These features were designed to closely mirror that of your desktop mouse in order to simplify the already difficult task of working with your foot when designing. The foot mouse is designed to capture a certain segment of the CAD community which includes; designers with physical disabilities, blind individuals and anyone looking to ease the muscle strain that comes with working on a 3D interface for extensive periods of time.

3D Finger Mouse

Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter have given hope to innovators, allowing them to turn their dreams into reality. Now, they will not have to worry about funds thanks to crowdfunding.

This opened the door of endless possibilities for people who want to contribute to make life better through innovation. Although, there are some very innovative products coming from crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, very few can achieve what Mycestro has done.

Nick Mastandrea is an executive, who finds it tough to use a mouse on a commercial flight. This sparked the idea of developing a wearable 3D mouse in Nick Mastandrea’s mind. He used crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to raise funds for his project and went on to turn his idea into an innovative product.

Who is the 3D Finger Mouse made for?

Imagine a mouse that fits on your fingers and can do everything that a regular mouse can. Thanks to the 3D Finger Mouse, you do not have to fit a bulky mouse in a tiny space on airline table tray ever again. This makes it great for travelers who travel by air or road. It is also perfect for press conferences, coffee shops and computer labs.

Mycestro will be your best friend when it comes to delivering presentations and lectures. You can easily navigate through in car menus with this wearable mouse instead of touching the touch-screen while driving. As such, if you are making long commutes, this mouse is a great way for you to get some work done while the vehicle is in motion.

Functionality3d-mouse

When you spend $150 to buy a mouse, you want it to deliver. Mycestro did deliver, but not without going through a tough set up. People who spend much of their time in multi tasking will not like its slow response and might get irritated after using it for few days. As such, you will have to get used to it. However, getting over its rather “unique” design will not be easy.

If you deliver lectures in front of an audience, there is nothing better than having a Mycestro mouse at your disposal. It can be charged through a USB cable and detects your hand movement effectively.

When we talk about wireless devices, battery life is an important factor. More specifically, how long will the battery last? It depends on your usage patterns. Moreover, since these devices usually require constant power, you may not get more than a few hours.

Pros and Cons

Some of the pros and cons of this 3D mouse include:

Pros

  • It is wireless and lightweight
  • You can control the cursor with natural gestures and your thumb
  • It has a range of 30 feet
  • It detects hand movement in 3D space
  • Long battery life (Bluetooth 4.0 low energy protocol)
  • Compatible with Mac, PC and iOS and android devices

Cons

  • Relatively expensive for many
  • Unique design that takes some getting used to
  • Not easy to set up
  • Slow responsiveness at times
  • Plastic is not very appealing

Final Thoughts

Mycestro is another bright product coming out of a Kickstarter campaign. With a few hiccups here and there, Mycestro does what it says. However, a $150 price tag might put some off, but if you are traveler, student, or a businessperson, you should consider shelling out some cash for Mycestro.

Its slow response (at times) and high price may keep the average user away from this 3D wearable mouse. Whether you decide to buy it or not, one thing is for sure, this mouse has set the standard for the device. Do not be surprised to see many new wearable variants coming in the future. Until the issues are ironed out, it is better you stick to your mouse.

4 Tips to Using A 3D Mouse

As a CAD user, you owe it to yourself to include the best design equipment or tools you are more comfortable working with when creating your workspace in order to maximize your productivity.

3d-mouse
These tools can be your favorite desktop to CPU combination, multiple hard disks or a customized mouse designed to meet your specific needs…and today’s post will focus on helping you simplify 3D CAD processes by introducing to your work space the revolutionary 3D mouse.

Everyone conversant with a computer definitely knows what a computer mouse is and the functions it handles but when it comes to the 3D mouse, most people—including CAD users—have little or no idea about what this device can help them accomplish.

Therefore, before going into specifics on today’s tips on using a 3D mouse, here is a brief description.
The computer 3D mouse is a directional/pointing device made up of two components—a 3 dimensional controller cap and a standard mouse—that serve diverse purposes.

The 3D controller cap serves as both the directional device and a manipulator by panning, zooming and viewing 3D objects in three dimensions while the standard mouse acts as the selection tool which allows the user select menu items and objects.

This unique arrangement makes working with 3D applications on a digital interface quite intuitive and increases the pace in which you interact with 3D applications and objects on your workspace.

So here are some tips to using a 3D mouse as a CAD user.

4 Tips to Working with a 3D Mouse in a CAD Workspace

1. Understanding Your Mouse: The first step to using any new gadget is becoming acquainted with the features that make it work and the 3D mouse is no different. Therefore the first tip is to become familiar with your controller cap and its working process by playing with its panning, zooming, and 3D movement capabilities on your favourite CAD workspace. this will get you acquainted with the functions associated with tilting, moving and sliding the controller cap

2. Turn on the Single Axis Mode: the first lesson most of us learnt after our introduction to CAD was how to draft simple 2D designs in a single plane—the XY axis. This learning concept is what the single axis mode attempts to accomplish by restricting the controller’s cap movement to a single axis thereby mirroring the capabilities of your average mouse and as you get more comfortable using the 3D mouse, simply switch off this limitation and enjoy the complete experience.

3d-mouse

3. Work with Multiple Design Platforms: for designers who make use of Photoshop as an editing tool, Solid Work for modelling and Maya for animation, it is important to note that the 3D mouse works quite differently on each of these apps interface. So the tip here is to rotate your try-outs among all the design apps you use in other to be completely proficient with its use.

4. Practice, Practice, Practice: the last tip for today is to take advantage of the learning materials provided by both the manufacturer of your 3D mouse and online tutorials that can be found on You Tube/other online CAD communities. On obtaining these materials, the next step is definitely the practice you require to become perfect.