A 3-D mouse is a device that allows multifaceted navigation using ultrasound technology. It allows a user to work with both hands simultaneously and was designed for use in console applications, such as computer-aided design (CAD) and game consoles like the Wii.
3-D mice have several degrees of freedom of movement. They allow a user to zoom, pan and rotate 3-D imagery simultaneously, without the use of keyboard shortcuts or any software interface. Additionally, the user is not required to alternate hands when navigating.
The 3-D ring mouse was the first 3-D mouse, and it introduced by Kantek in the late 1990s. It was a ring worn around a finger that allowed the thumb to access three buttons. Despite technological advancements, this 3-D mouse was discontinued due to its lack of sufficient resolution.
There are various types of 3-D mice, including:
3-D Ring Mouse: An ultrasonic computer mouse worn on the finger. The curser is used by pointing and moving the index finger. Zooming is done by moving the hand to and away from the screen.
3-D Trackballs: A hand-sized sensor ball device, which is mostly used to move 3-D models. High-tech trackballs provide 6 dfs, three axes of rotation and translation, spring-loaded centering and other various buttons.
3-D Motion Controllers: A motion-sensing device using an optical sensor and an accelerator technology, which produces spatial coordinates by gesture recognition and pointing by the user.