Input Devices for a 3D World

NOT Spacemice

From Spacemice

Logitech NuLOOQ

The NuLOOQ is probably the closest thing to being a Spacemouse with out actually being one. It has three degrees of freedom (3DOF). Left/Right(X), Forward/Back(Y), Axial Rotation(C)

Additionally, the top surface of the device is touch sensitive, similar to a G2 iPod, and has four click-able buttons at the compass points.

LINK: Logitech's NuLOOQ Navigator Page

Mac / Windows
Official support ended in 2009, and only XP/Vista/OSX 10.4.4 drivers with release dates of 2007 are available from Logitech.

The spacenavd driver for spacemice recognizes the NuLOOQ.
The ring gives translational data on the X and Z axis, and rotation on B (twisting the Y axis). It detects 4 different buttons at the compass points on the top, and the touch surface results in negative values of translational data on the Y axis.

Giffin Powermate

The Griffin Powermate is a click-able rotating knob, allowing infinite rotation with detent along one axis. One degree of freedom with the cap also acting as a single button. A Blue LED in the base can also be configured to give visual feedback.

Its software supports automatic, application specific, functionality switching.

The latest official driver states compatibility with OSX 10.6, but the FAQ reports that it also works with OSX 10.7 Lion.

Official support has ended, however the drivers are still functional, though sometimes erratic in Windows 7. Some users have reported better compatibility with OLDER versions of the driver.

The device is also configurable in Linux under the open-source Gizmo Daemon and EvRouter projects.


Trackballs come in many different designs, but in function, all are essentially upside-down mice, with the same limited 2DOF (X, Y) that mice have.

Spacemice, especially the Spaceball style models, are often mistaken for, or described as trackballs.

ASCII Sphere360 for PS1

Now we are starting to split hairs... This technically -IS- a spaceball made by Spacetec.
It is essentially the same ball mechanism as the SpaceOrb360 sold as an OEM part, then mounted to a Playstation control by ASCII Entertainment.

It is not a PC device, so I did not include it in the main Gallery.

Dial Boxes

Digging deeper into computer history...

Many workstations originally used Dial_boxs to manipulate objects in 3D space. Each axis has two dials, one for translation, the other for rotation. Additional dials adjusted other functions, such as camera zoom, and scaling. (SGI, HP) While these devices gave users very precise control, they were not natural feeling, or intuitive to operate.

Cyberman / Cyberman2

Logitech attempted to make a hybrid mouse/joystick that would allow 6DOF, and the result was the Cyberman. The result, was essentially a 3-button mouse mounted atop a joystick, with a force-feedback (vibration) system in its base.

The mouse is so top heavy that it tends to drift in one direction or another when unattended. Nearly impossible to click the buttons without causing movement, or move without accidentally clicking. The device uses a variation of the SWIFT joystick driver (similar to the Logitech Wingman Warrior) and as such is considered a gaming joystick.

The Cyberman2 (1997) uses the same mechanism as the Cyberpuck in a molded base with 8 buttons. It uses the game-port as its interface and as a gaming joystick, I decided not to include it as a proper 'spacemouse'.

If I had included either of the Cyberman devices as spacemice, it would have opened the door to an insane number of 6DOF gaming joysticks, which I am not prepared to document. If anyone wishes to take on that Herculean task, I will gladly include links pointing to your website. :)