“Feet are made to see and hands to do,” Stanislas Chesnais tells me as I stare slightly dubiously at his invention, the 3D Rudder that sits beneath my feet. At first glance it looks something like a Pogo Ball (hey, I’m an 80’s kid, OK? Here’s the link) but it’s flat on top, with the base rotating.
The idea behind the 3D Rudder stemmed from Chesnais’s frustration working with virtual reality, where he felt constrained by his hands. Anyone who has ever played with an Oculus Rift or spent to long wearing 3D glasses at the movies knows that you get a little dizzy, sometimes a little sick, and that’s what the 3D Rudder is trying to combat.
He explains that you get motion sickness in Virtual reality as you’re not aware of your movements, but you don’t get that while driving as you know where you’re going and are in control. By allowing the 3D Rudder to work as a joystick for the feet – it’s compatible with most computers and game consoles including Oculus, you can use your hands more naturally, “to focus action with the hands,” he says, “to shoot, to do more.”
Once set up, it’s surprisingly simple to use. You tilt your feet in the direction you want to go, small movements to inch forwards, longer tilts to glide and swoop around 3D landscapes. A cool feature was the ability to adjust a setting and no longer walk through 3D renders, but fly above them. I liked being able to zoom around buildings, and though there were definite instances of me randomly staring at walls as I re-orientated, within 5 minutes I felt reasonably proficient.
This has a lot of potential for people who work a lot with 3D, such as architects who would have the possibility to walk through and above their designs, to get a better sense of scale. Plus, you feel a little like Superman, and if you’re the designer, you’re literally the creator of all you survey. Now that has to be a cool feeling.
At the moment its mostly setup for virtual reality, gaming and designers, but it could potentially be set up to help those with disability be able to get some interaction—something that might happen in the future.