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3DRudder sets new course for game control from head to toe

Controlling interactive games by hand has long been the industry standard. Kinect and other motion-sensing systems have come along in recent years to enable players to control games by using their entire bodies. The makers of a small number of recent devices, however, are looking to take game control down another route, sticking with traditional hand-controlled keyboards and joysticks, but adding hardware that adds the user’s feet to the mix.

An example of the latter is 3DRudder. Created by created by a team of French designers, the device is a foot-controlled navigation and motion controller that works in conjunction with existing PC games. The controller can emulate keyboard keys or a joystick and is intended to be a companion device for virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift The 3DRudder is used while seated and users just rest their feet on it while playing a game. To move forward, the user tilts the device forward; to move to the right, the user tilts the device to the right, and so on. The pedal enables users to also move up or down.

The device supports a maximum user weight of 286 pounds. To use the controller, the user must have a computer featuring an AMD Phenom or Intel Core i3, I5 or i7 processor, 2 GB of RAM, a USB 2.0 port and an Internet connection. Backers can get a 3DRudder for $110 as part of an early bird special and the device will ship in May. Its makers are looking to raise $50,000 on Indiegogo.

The controller is similar in concept to the somewhat more primitive-looking, Kickstarter-funded Stinky the Gaming Footboard. But both devices seem targeted at only a niche segment of the gamer market. The lack of current support for the Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony game consoles only underscores that. The 3DRudder’s makers are targeting 3D professionals including designers as one core audience for its device, and it seems best-suited for that crowd–unless Facebook’s ultra-bullish prediction for virtual reality headsets comes true.

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