May be Good for Certain software

Oct 5, 2005
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:looks pretty. super high quality fit and finish. Very corporate

Cons:designed for the eye not the hand, Expensive, only certain apps give enhanced operations.

The Bottom Line: Go with space mouse plus

First off, I should say that I love left hand motion controllers. I use rhino 3d modeling program and anything that will cut the work down on my mouse hand and help make the mind-software connection stronger is appreciated.

The pilot is a different animal than the other products offered be 3dconnexion. This one has a LED screen and responds to the program you are using if it is one of the apps that they designed it for. In this case the 6 buttons below the lcd screen change function depending on what tool or function one is using.

Rhino is supported generally by 3dconnexion products but not specifically enhanced with the Pilot.

Without being enhanced it is pretty much like the other products, cadman, space mouse, spaceball, traveller etc, in that it has a central motion controller and some programmable buttons. Some of the buttons are already dedicated --- shift, escape, and control. There is a sensitivity adjuster near the thumb as well as a view selector and 3d lock function.

I can only review this device in the unenhanced mode. It really suffers. The designers have assumed that the user wants to be looking at the device often to see what the current options are and to locate individual keys.

The layout of the device is very much for the eye and not for the hand. They gotten away from the symetricity of the past units and finally reconcilled themselve to the fact that as many as 90% of their customers are going to use their left hand on this device. I would have hoped that, relieved of symetrical constraints, that they would have gone deeper into designing something that really works on an intuitive and tactile level.

The 6 keys that are programable are impossible to differentiate by touch. Personally I like to have "delete" and "undo" as programed buttonsbut there isnt really a place to put these, as mistaking them for something else would send you back to the keyboard to fix what you have done.

I believe that if you do enough work on a cad program to really want and need a high quality motion controller, you don't want to be slowed down by looking and searching for functions. Also, many people using cad are doing relatively the same thing each time. They know the shortcuts and buttons they need and they dont want to hunt and peck on a motion controller, its too slow.

It's ironic that they named this device the "pilot" when there is so much good aviation research about tactile diferentiation, task management, and control placements.

They should take a good look at game controllers. Heck why not hire some game controller designers?

I am reviewing this item only having used it in a limited way but I feel pretty certain that the limitations and design shortcomings outweigh any benefits to those who really seek to be "one with the machine"

My recommendation is to spend the same money and get the space mouse plus. If you do decide to go after the Pilot, try to demo one first in the app you are going to use it in. Really spemd some time with it before you spend the money.

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