Links: 3DConnexion, Intermap

Two 3DConnexion items:

  • Today I took the plane from Stockholm to Lund for the day, in part to show off some layers in Google Earth, and so I took my SpaceNavigator with me in my on-board luggage. On the way back, I was afforded a glance of what it looks like in an X-ray machine — a huge round black mass at the bottom of my bag, clamoring for attention.

    Sure enough, it had to be inspected, but what followed is one of the reasons why I love Swedes: When I told the two security personnel that it is a 3D mouse, they cooed appreciatively. One commented on the high build quality and the weight, and made the other hold it. She in turn said she loved the design! It was like a commercial.

    In case you’re wondering, IKEA was founded nearby; Lund University is home to the Ingvar Kamprad Design Centre. It’s in their blood, I tell you.

  • 3DConnexion’s Rory Dooley has a video out of him controlling a 3DConnexion controller to navigate through a 3D model of the selfsame controller in Adobe Reader 8. That’s so meta my head hurts. It’s worth watching, though — it turns out the six degrees of freedom come from three sets of two LEDs shining through slits at perpendicular angles onto photosensitive surfaces. Clever! Mac driver support for Adobe Reader 8 is promised for June. Updated drivers here.

News in the “competition is good for you” department:

  • Digital elevation mapping company Intermap is licensing its NEXTMap height mesh data for the UK to Microsoft for its Virtual Earth 3D web app.

    Intermap’s data has a measurement error of less than one meter, though I’m not sure if that’s a scalable resolution for Microsoft to work with when covering the entire UK. According to sources, we can expect the inclusion of this data in Virtual Earth by the end of the first quarter, i.e. the end of March. Germany would be up next if all goes well.

2 thoughts on “Links: 3DConnexion, Intermap”

  1. “it turns out the six degrees of freedom come from three sets of two LEDs shining through slits at perpendicular angles onto photosensitive surfaces. Clever!”

    before optical mice, the old rollerball mice worked almost exactly the same way. the x and y rollers each connected to a spindle/wheel with lots of slits radiating out from the center axis. an infrared LED would shine through the slits onto a photosensor and the signals were translated into x and y commands. clever, yes, back in the 80′s and 90′s. a very robust technique too.

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