3DRudder — an intriguing new input device we came across at CES this week — is an exception to this rule. When you boil it down, it’s essentially a giant omni-directional D-pad that you control with your feet. Tilt the pad in any direction, and you’ll go in that direction.
But that’s not all. Unlike your average D-pad or joystick, the 3DRudder gives you control over more than just directional acceleration. Twist your feet, and you can adjust the orientation. Put pressure on the toe of one foot and the heel of another, and you can zoom in or out. It sounds complicated, but it’s actually fairly simple to get the hang of.
We sat down and took it for a spin, and after just a minute or two, we were zipping around a virtual 3D world like seasoned 3DRudder pros.
That said, it’s definitely not quite as dynamic as a traditional controller. Without buttons, the range of functions the device can perform is mostly limited to controlling motion and perspective — so you’d likely need additional input devices to use it in a video game. For moving around a 3D modeling environment, however, something like this would be ideal, as it would free up your hands for other tasks.
The device isn’t quite for sale just yet, but is currently in the midst of a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise funds for production.