I've been doing some research into 3D mice. Pretty much the only game in town is the space mouse from 3Dconnexion.
In doing this I discovered that its original designer John Hilton left after the acquisition and went on to form a company called Spatial Freedom which produced a rival controller called "Astroid". See https://www.digitalengineering247.com/article/whats-not-to-like-about-astroid
Pretty much all evidence of this company and product seems to have been eliminated from the internet. Does anyone know what happened?
I can think of three possibilities:
- the company was bought out
- 3Dconnexion sued over the similarity and they were forced to fold
- The company folded due to being unable to carve out a niche of its own
spatialfreedom.com site is parked
Implication: the company folded
no videos from Spatial Freedom or about Astroid on YouTube
Guess: they were pulled by YouTube at the request of 3Dconnexion’s lawyers
I've recently discovered an attempt to create an open hardware version https://github.com/mattogodoy/mighty-mouse which I like the look of. If the answer to this question is 2 that project would be under threat.
However according to https://spacemice.org/pdf/Astroid_Whitepaper.pdf, the Astroid was based on a new design for which a new patent was at least sought.
A search shows 3Dconnexion own some patents which cover their products e.g https://patents.justia.com/assignee/3dconnexion-gmbh. They seem dubiously broad to my "open source" mindset but money and lawyers...