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Jog-Shuttles vs. Joysticks, and Other Weird Ideas...

Posted Oct 23 2008 1:34pm


From the cyberworld back to the hardware world for a moment...

I have yet to get the Contour Jog-Shuttle Wheel (remember Darth Vader's codpiece?) to work the way I would like with my PACS. Fortunately, it does work with my video editing software, so it isn't a total loss.

I've been thinking about the problem of navigating a 3D dataset, which can be a dangerous and expensive thing (me thinking, that is). How is this done in real life? First, we have to find an analogous situation. Airplane pilots have to navigate their aircraft through three dimensions, though, in general, they had better be going forward, and they have to deal with gravity. Helicoptors don't have to go forward, but the collective, the up-and-down control, adds complexity to this discussion. So, how about video games where one pilots a spaceship around, well, space, without regard to gravity? Most use some form of joystick navigation, though this might manifest as a limited D-pad on an X-Box or Game-Cube controller. The joystick was the one device Sherbondy did not test for his article.

An overwhelming number of joystick options are available. Take a look at the Saitek "Cyborg evo Force" pictured above. This joystick has lots of buttons as well as mini-joysticks mounted on it, and some of the buttons themselves even have switches. Our younger generation is being prepared for something, although I'm not sure we're going to like it when it arrives. But I digress.

Seems to me that this is the way to pilot through the inner space of the body, and would be especially valuable with virtual colonoscopies. I haven't, of course, worked out the logistics of this approach as yet, but one could use the main stick for navigating the slice you are in, be it axial, coronal, or sagittal, and one of the little mini-joysticks for diving up and down or in and out of the plane you are in at the moment.



My son has an old Sidewinder joystick, and since he has lost his computer priviledges for a week (forgot his homework or some other onerous offense), I'm going to confiscate the stick for my experiments. We'll see how it goes.

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