Navigate 3D Worlds with 3Dconnexion Devices

Welcome to AECWeekly! 3Dconnexion's line of 3D navigation devices take the place of a mouse, or allow users to use a mouse simultaneously -- and allow users to fly through 3D worlds or manipulate 3D objects much more easily and comfortably than with a mouse and keyboard. Read about these new products in this week’s Industry News.

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Industry News
Navigate 3D Worlds with 3Dconnexion Devices
by Susan Smith

At AU last year, I saw demonstrated 3Dconnexion's line of 3D navigation devices, which include the newly released 3DxSoftware version 3.0, featuring a new Configuration Wizard and added support for Autodesk Design Review, Autodesk DWF Viewer, Google Earth and Google SketchUp. The line of products is now in beta for Mac OS X.

These devices take the place of a mouse, or allow users to use a mouse simultaneously --and allow users to fly through 3D worlds or manipulate 3D objects much more easily and comfortably than with a mouse and keyboard. Users can simultaneously pan, zoom and rotate 3D images without being required to stop to change directions. This was especially helpful while viewing imagery in Google Earth. 3Dconnexion's four products: SpaceNavigator, , SpacePilot, , SpaceExplorer  and SpaceTraveler, revolutionize 3D navigation for many types of users. The support is offered through Autodesk DWF Viewer and Design Review Service Packs available for immediate download from the Autodesk website.

3Dconnexion is a Logitech company, known for its 3D navigation devices for design and visualization. In November at AU, 3Dconnexion introduced two new 3D navigation devices: SpaceNavigator and Space Explorer. SpaceNavigator is an entry level 3D navigation device geared for professionals as well as students and other interested individuals.

The SpaceNavigator is also a 3D navigation device that offers intuitive 3D navigation control. Native support for the SpaceNavigator was developed by Logitech and Google working together, making it compatible with Google Earth and Google SketchUp, as well as with other 3D design applications.

In the SpaceNavigator, six optical sensors continuously communicate multiple threads of navigation data to 3D applications. This technology enables people to fly through three-dimensional worlds without stopping to use the keyboard or mouse to change directions. The SpaceNavigator is a companion to the mouse. One hand drives the device and positions your model, while the mouse hand can simultaneously edit the model or select menu items. People do not need to switch tools as often to manipulate 3D imagery with this tool. Users can use the SpaceNavigator to simultaneously pan, zoom and rotate 3D objects, which cannot be done with a mouse and keyboard alone. People who use multiple 3D applications can appreciate how SpaceNavigator unifies the unique navigation systems of each application into a single easy-to-use device.

"3D applications are no longer used only by 3D designers, as evidenced by Google Earth being downloaded more than 100 million times in the first 10 months of its release," said Rory Dooley, president of 3Dconnexion in recent press release. "Combining an easy-to-use, affordable 3D navigation device with Google's easy-to-use 3D applications offers an amazing 3D experience to virtually anyone."

In a demonstration, Dooley showed how easy it is to navigate around in Google Earth with the SpaceNavigator. Although extremely versatile, Google Earth can be difficult to negotiate with a mouse, as the mouse may swoop across it and lose your view. The SpaceNavigator lets you move across the Earth with much more control and precision.

The SpaceNavigator has a heavy steel base with a small footprint which secures it to the desktop. A controller cap is designed to flex and rotate in all directions. “When the cap is moved, the optical sensors capture a continuous stream of navigation information that is sent to the running application to control the 3D object or environment. The cap can be pushed, pulled, tilted, or spun a fraction of an inch in any direction to activate the SpaceNavigator's optical sensors. A firm push on the cap activates a quick movement, while a more gentle push results in slower movement. The SpaceNavigator's two programmable buttons, located at the three o'clock and nine o'clock positions, allow people to customize their workflow and reduce movement as the hand switches among the SpaceNavigator, mouse and keyboard,” according to the press release.

The new 3Dconnexion Configuration Wizard in the SpaceNavigator is an interactive tool that runs while the product is being installed, and offers demos on configuring your preferences, speed adjustment and other settings. The Wizard lets you immediately begin using the device productively.

The SpaceNavigator is compatible with Windows XP, 32-bit and 64-bit.
The SpaceNavigator PE (personal edition) suggested retail price: $59. Personal edition license supports non-commercial use of the device and offers online technical support only.

The SpaceNavigator standard edition: $99. The standard edition license supports both commercial and non-commercial use and offers online, e-mail and phone technical support. See the 3Dconnexion website for more information.


The Nemetschek Group submitted a public takeover bid to the shareholders of Graphisoft SE. "We are offering the shareholders the equivalent of 9 euros per share. That is a fair price that adequately reflects the value of the company," says CFO and Board Spokesman Ernst Homolka. The offer of 2,273 forints (HUF) corresponds to 9 euros exactly and was submitted this Wednesday to the Hungarian Financial Authority HFSA prior to the opening of the stock exchange. The exchange supervisory authority will verify the offer in the next two weeks. After that, the shareholders will have 45 days to sell their shares. The transaction should be completed around the middle of March. The Nemetschek Group has had a majority interest of 54.3 percent in Graphisoft since December 31, 2006.


Cyon Research Corporation, hosts of the Congress on the Future of Engineering Software (COFES), announced that “The Globalization of Engineering” will be the theme of this year’s COFES industry conference, which will be held in April in Scottsdale, Arizona.

COFES represents the meeting of the best minds of the engineering software industry, providing an intensive conference atmosphere for both private and public discussions. The yearly event gives executives, end users, CAD and PLM vendors, analysts, as well as the press a chance to address the business issues in engineering technologies.

TRIRIGA(R), a leading provider of Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS), announced it has been positioned by Gartner, Inc. in the leaders quadrant in the 'Magic Quadrant for Integrated Workplace Management Systems'(1) report.

To receive your copy of the complete report, visit TRIRIGA online .

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