Ann Marie Shillito from Anarkik 3D hooked the “Eightbar crowd” up with a haptic controller. Anarkik are involved with haptic input devices and have developed some really nice software which enables users to interact with virtual worlds and 3D modelling tools using a consumer-priced haptic controller which can be connected to a PC via USB.
Haptic technology refers to technology that interfaces to the user via the sense of touch by applying forces, vibrations and/or motions to the user. This mechanical stimulation may be used to assist in the creation of virtual objects (objects existing only in a computer simulation), for control of such virtual objects, and to enhance the remote control of machines and devices (teleoperators). Here they demonstrate the Anarkik 3D controller being used for navigating in Second Life OpenSim. You must admit it looks way more “kewl” than that - now suddenly boring looking - “SpaceNavigator”, no? ;)
“The demo blew us away. First we had a look at how the controller could be used to drive an avatar in a virtual world (in this case, OpenSim). It’s a considerably more natural way to navigate than the keyboard and mouse setup that is provided with most 3D worlds and should lead to a lot more accessibility into these environments. The part that really impressed us was the capability of driving a CAD-like tool called Cre8 - a free download from Anarkik, for people who have the controller - to easily create three-dimensional objects by physical manipulation… both inside and out. I remember hacking around with an old 3D package called Euclid on my RISC OS machine back in the early 90s and it was a nightmare - this was sheer joy. Watch the video to see various people playing around with the haptic controller :-)”