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Spaceball Brings Enhanced Motion Control to CAD/CAM Applications

Spaceball Brings Enhanced Motion Control to CAD/CAM Applications

A new tracking ball allows movement and rotation along all three axes of motion.

A manufacturer of computer peripherals has committed to several initiatives that broaden the market for its 3-D motion controllers. Fitting a range of hand sizes and designed to minimize arm and wrist stress, the Spaceball 3003 FLX and 4000 FLX controllers supplied by Labtec Inc. (Vancouver, WA) use a tracking ball that allows movement and rotation along all three axes of motion. Suited for digital content creation in a range of 3-D applications, these peripherals offer improved access for operators in CAD/CAM and other fields.

The implementation of Microsoft's DirectInput standards increases accessibility by allowing Spaceball controllers to be driven directly by a Windows operating system. Traditionally, 3-D motion controllers have been driven by the design software. Consequently, unique drivers were required for each software package and had to be individually updated when the program was revised. The Microsoft standards eliminate these concerns, allowing the controllers to work directly with the operating system regardless of the specific software or application.

A universal serial bus (USB) model broadens the controller's installation options. "With many modern computers having one or even no serial ports," says senior vice president and general manager Joyce Ouellette, "USB is emerging as the connectivity standard." The new Spaceball controller supports this standard and connects simply even to laptops. Categorized as a low-power USB device, the USB-IF certified controller will be available in June.

New users will also be attracted to Spaceball technology by the controller's compatibility with Intel's 64-bit Itanium processing platform. When it arrives on the market, this platform will offer accelerated processing times for 3-D applications. Spaceball users will be able to take advantage of this feature immediately, as the appropriate drivers will be released before the 64-bit applications arrive on store shelves.

Zachary Turke

TAGS: News
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