3DRudder Aims To Use Your Feet As Controller

Most of our interaction with gaming consoles and PCs is with our hands. Moving an object in three-dimensional space or shooting down hordes of aliens can be accomplished with a keyboard and mouse, or by pushing a few buttons on a controller. But one company is hoping to add your feet to the experience.

The 3DRudder is a semi-spherical foot-based controller that measures a little less than 15 inches in diameter, three inches in height, and weighs less than four pounds. It connects to the computer with a USB cord. 3DRudder CEO Stanislaus Chesnais told us of a prototype that could work with a Bluetooth connection, which could be offered in a stretch goal in their crowdfunding efforts.

It's targeted to gamers and those working professionally with 3D models, and it looks pretty easy to use. Chesnais told us that for fast-paced games such as shooters, the device should be able to keep up with quick reactions and movement.

"It is surprisingly reactive and precise, way more than what I myself had envisioned at the beginning. For example, the more you'll tilt forward the 3DRudder, the faster you'll run. And the faster you'll start tilting the faster you'll start moving," he said.

As for architects and 3D developers, it works as a camera controller. The user can tilt the 3DRudder forwards, backwards, left, or right to pitch and strafe the camera as well as rotate the entire platform. In addition, the surface is split in two parts so that you can tilt one plate up and one plate down to pitch up or down on the camera.

The 3DRudder works with many PC games and acts as a keyboard, mouse, or joystick (with some tweaking from the controller's driver) and can be used on Windows 7, 8, and above as well as OS X Yosemite. For designers, it works with two CAD programs, Rhino and Sketchup, with more CAD programs to follow in the future.

But it doesn't stop there for Chesnais and the rest of the 3DRudder team. Their goal is to have developers integrate the 3DRudder in their games and programs with their own development kit. For games, the team is working on making software that can be used in the Unity and Unreal engines.

The 3DRudder is currently crowdfunding on Indiegogo with a goal of $50,000. People will need to pay $110 to be one of the first users of the 3DRudder when it is expected to come out in May 2015.

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  • Reepca
    So if I understand this correctly, the device is basically a large, foot-controlled analog stick plus a rotating-the-stick-itself channel? It certainly opens up a lot of possibilities (I'm imagining a game where you can control each individual step your character in a game makes directly with your feet...), although it's not exactly new tech. An additional feature I would be interested in seeing is force sensors where the feet go - classic xbox joysticks can be "clicked down" for the typical sprint switch (and in most FPS games, the knife button). In this dedicated piece of hardware, however, I can see potential for less binary input that could give game developers a lot of neat options for providing more direct control over their characters.

    One of the problems games face today is that while the capability for direct control over game avatars could definitely be put in games, precise control requires precise, detailed input - something a classic mouse + keyboard combination can't provide very well without being very difficult and un-intuitive to use. And while the obvious end solution is omni-treadmills, VR headsets, and motion-tracking sensors all over the player (as well as several cameras), that won't be practical for a long time. Until then, game makers have to keep appealing to the lowest common denominator - keyboard and mouse.
  • Yuka
    I'd love to have that option. I currently use (when I can) the pedals of my G27 for some things. It's really interesting the possibilities it brings to "control".

    Now, I think this is more than what we do need, but can't hurt to have more options.

    Cheers!
  • TunaSoda
    Wow this is way late to the game! (pun intended)

    I made one myself in like 2003 to play Half-Life with (for strafing and reloading) I used the innards of a guitar effects peddle board and wired it up to the internals of a keyboard, then assigned the keys.

    There is still an interest for this? lol :D