Back in early 2015, we took a look at what then seemed like a promising input device for use with VR, the 3DRudder. Now that device is available to the public, so we caught up with the company’s CEO, Stanislas Chesnais, to take a look at what makes the 3DRudder different from the other VR devices you’ll see in our coverage of CES 2018.
While VR continues to innovate on a variety of spaces, movement in virtual reality spaces is far from a solved problem. Some companies are packing computers right into the headsets to eliminate cables, others are tracking full body movement, some are even tracking your eyes and brain activity. This works great for some things, but 3DRudder aims to provide a solution that is more backward compatible with existing games.
“The idea is that you want to move in VR, you want to have your hands free to shoot, grab, pull, whatever,” Chesnais told Digital Trends. “The idea of the 3DRudder is that it’s a simple device you put under your feet while sitting, and by tilting the device you move in the game.”
Essentially, you’re moving the directional pad or analog stick of a traditional controller to your feet, allowing your upper half to focus on aiming and shooting, or whatever you may be doing in the game. This sounds like it could be difficult to get used to, but when we got the chance to try 3DRudder for ourselves, we found it surprisingly easy to get used to. That you’re sitting while using the device could also help to alleviate some of the fatigue that some users experience with VR.
Along with the hardware, the 3DRudder comes with dashboard software that allows you to use it with existing games, including non-VR games. As one example, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is supported, at least the spectator mode, allowing you to control your view of the match with your feet, leaving your hands free to type or take a sip of a drink. The software allows you to map keyboard keys to the 3DRudder controller as well.
The 3DRudder is available now, and retails for $140. To buy one or find out more information about just how it works and what games are supported, see the 3DRudder website.