Massless Introduces Massless Pen VR Peripheral For 3D Modelling, CAD Professionals

Massless Corporation announced its entry into the VR peripheral market. The company set its sights on the professional 3D design and engineering industry with an input device that makes manipulating 3D objects in VR easier and more precise. The Massless Pen brings the familiarity of a tool you’ve used all your life into the virtual world.

The virtual reality industry makes many promises about what the technology can do for the way we work as much as it is changing how we consume entertainment. That may be true, especially for 3D artists and CAD designers, however, before that happens, we’ll need some better tools. Tilt Brush and Mediumprove that you can do a lot with a wand controller. However, you likely won’t get the precision of a stylus on a tablet with a trigger-based input device. Massless Corporation recognized the precision limitation of current VR peripherals and set out to solve the problem. It needed only to reinvent the wheel—or, in this case, the pen.

Massless Corporation’s solution is a spatially tracked pen that lets you draw in 3D space.

“We are incredibly excited to launch the MASSLESS Pen. This is the first solution to bring the benefits of immersive VR to complex, high precision 3D modeling applications for Mechanical Design, Animation and Civil Engineering,” said Dr. Jack A. Cohen, CEO, MASSLESS. “The ability to lift the Pen off your desk and move it in the space all around you makes 3D modeling, manipulation, and navigation intuitive, fast and accurate in a way which has never been possible with traditional interface devices like a mouse, SpaceMouse® or tablet.”

The Massless Pen offers precise tracking with up to 0.05mm accuracy thanks to its independent tracking solution. The Massless Tracker features a specially designed stereo camera that captures the movement of a series of markers on the Massless Pen 60 time per second. Massless supplements the stereo camera tracking with data from embedded IMU sensors to ensure the tracking precision remains constant, even if the camera loses sight of the pen for a moment. The Massless Pen also offers a tactile vibration that lets you “feel” your 3D model.

The Massless Pen works with the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, and it is also compatible with 2D applications. You can use the Massless Pen as a stylus replacement for 2D interfaces, and you can use it without a VR HMD to draw 3D models in the air in front of you.

The Massless Pen is wireless, and it offers up to 3 hours of battery life. Massless Corporation didn’t say how the Massless Pen communicates with your PC, but the company said it supports USB 3.0 for “high-speed, responsive and precise performance,” which suggests that the Massless Pen includes a wireless receiver that supports USB 3.0.

Massless Corporation didn’t reveal the release date for the Massless Pen, and we don’t know how much it will cost. Massless plans to launch the Massless Pen before the end of the year. The company is currently running a limited Early Adopter Program to work out the kinks before mass rollout begins.

 Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years. 

  • cryoburner
    This seems pretty cool, like a 3D Wacom tablet. The "up to 3 hours" battery life seems quite low though, particularly for something aimed at professionals who could easily be working on a project with the pen for an entire workday. It would be nice if they at least allowed it to charge while in operation via something like microUSB, though I suspect they might have it use something like an inductive charging base instead. Considering that it uses it's own camera tracking system as well, I would expect it to be quite expensive.