Beyond being a great game accessory, beyond offering the best way to move intuitively and naturally in VR, and beyond transforming the way to design and work in 3D, the 3dRudder is an amazing accessibility device. It readily emulates keyboard keys, a full mouse, or a joystick at the feet, letting disabled people do new and more things with their computer.
Yet we didn’t design the 3dRudder for accessibility.
The original idea came from Valerio Bonora, my business partner. Valerio is an architect by trade. For years he had this idea of being able to navigate digital models of buildings or products with his hands. We started to work early 2014 on a proof of concept with two other talented engineers and co-founders. And today we are shipping to the world our foot-powered VR and gaming motion controller, used while seated.
VR and Gaming materialized quickly as the best playgrounds for the 3dRudder. We started to tour the world to show our device and its various interactions at business and consumer shows. On and on people would tell us : “Amazing product! And it must be a great device for people with upper body disabilities.”.
At those shows we met disabled people in need for a foot-powered input device. At the last Tokyo Game Show a man who had lost an arm came to us and said we had the tool he had been searching for and that he would finally be able to play World of Tanks with his son.
Now why is the 3dRudder such a great accessibility device?
The reason is pretty simple and counter-intuitive : because we never conceived it as an accessibility device in the first place. We conceived a peripheral offering intuitive and natural movement in a variety of settings, that wouldn’t cause fatigue and would work with existing games and applications running on Windows 10.
We didn’t work for the accessibility market. We work for everyone on the principle many things could also be achieved with the feet with the right device, freeing the hands to do more. But if you have no hands, or just one, or your 2 hands but have difficulties lifting a simple cup of coffee, then using the 3dRudder is a life-changing experience.
The 3dRudder is a great accessibility device because it’s accessible to all, not just the disabled.