Project image
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$33,049
pledged of $40,000pledged of $40,000 goal
88
backers
18days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Thu, December 5 2019 2:59 PM UTC +00:00.

Sublight Dynamics 6DOF Joystick Early Access

An intuitive six degree-of-freedom joystick for space games, VR, and robotics.

Sublight Dynamics 6DOF Joystick Early Access

An intuitive six degree-of-freedom joystick for space games, VR, and robotics.

$33,049
pledged of $40,000pledged of $40,000 goal
88
backers
18days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Thu, December 5 2019 2:59 PM UTC +00:00.

About

About

This project began with a dream of a feeling: the feeling of fluid, no limits, six-axis control intuitively, in a single hand. And we think we’ve finally found it. We’re crowdfunding for a very limited number of early access units of our six degree-of-freedom joystick. So, what is six degrees of freedom?

Six degrees of freedom, also known as 6DOF, means that the joystick measures not just the three rotation axes pitch, yaw, and roll of a traditional joystick, but also the translation axes up/down, left/right, and forward/backward.

While the design has been primarily focused on space games, the joystick has potential uses in other applications, such as VR and robotics. We’ve tested in a variety of games with six degrees of freedom, most prominently including Elite Dangerous, Star Citizen, and Overload.

We plan to do an additional, larger-quantity crowdfunding campaign next year, which we expect to have a much lower unit cost, but which won't deliver for at least nine months after these early access units. The higher price of these early units is due to the very low quantities, the hand-assembly, and the individual testing involved with each unit. Additionally, if any backers from the first Kickstarter decide to order an additional  joystick from our future high-quantity Kickstarter campaign, you’ll get a  50% discount off of the regular price.

How It Works

The joystick works by measuring forces applied to the handle. Controlling an application means simply moving the handle in the desired direction. Using force sensors also means that there’s no hard physical center to the motion, making small adjustments easier, and allowing for fast, smooth input changes, with no bearings to wear out over time.

Because of the vertical axis, the joystick should be used while fixed to the surface it’s on. This can be the top of a desk, using a common C clamp, or in front of a desk, using the included desk mounting clamp.

Features

The joystick is fully ambidextrous, requiring only the swapping of a palm rest to switch from right to left handed.

The precise force sensors act through a multi-part spring suspension system balanced around the center of the handle, so that force can be applied at the handle’s center without causing rotation. This provides a blend of kinesthetic feedback, like a traditional motion-based stick, with the reaction speed, and sensitivity customization associated with force controllers.

Most components on the joystick will be made of cast resin. The base plate, clamp, and armrest will be made from laser-cut steel.

Because the Sublight joystick is primarily designed as a simulation gaming device, it includes a number of inputs on the handle. 

Finger controls (32 digital inputs):

  • Dual-stage main trigger, with additional reverse action
  • Forward bump trigger
  • Thumb button
  • Two-way pinky trigger
  • Three two-way index levers
  • One eight-way hat with center push
  • Two four-way hats with center push
  • Two analog rotary knobs

A vibrating motor in the handle can also be optionally enabled to indicate when the joystick is a past its axis limits, either with a continuous vibration or with a single tap. We’ve found this to be helpful for quickly learning to feel the force required for a given sensitivity value.

The joysticks will be highly configurable using a settings program that we’ve developed. The core settings have already been implemented, but we’ll continue to improve the UI and settings options during and after production of the early access units.

Settings are stored locally on the joystick, so you can use your custom settings without having to continuously run the settings program in the background.

Some examples of included settings are sensitivity, output curve shape, deadzones, axis inversion, and axis output order.

Multiple sets of settings can be uploaded at once as modes, and joystick buttons can be programmed to select different settings modes on the fly. This can be used, for instance, to temporarily reduce sensitivity or increase deadzones when very slow, precise movements are desired.

The current mode is displayed using one of three mode LEDs at the top of the handle.

What’s Included

  • One Sublight Dynamics 6DOF early access joystick
  • An arm rest, which can help prevent fatigue during extended use.
  • A desk mounting clamp, to secure the joystick in front of a desk
  • A mirrored palm rest to swap for left-handed usage
  • A 50% discount on the second, larger production run in 2020
     

Specs

Base Dimensions: 135 mm wide x 160 mm deep (5.3 inches wide x 6.3 inches deep)

Total Height: 255 mm (10 inches)

The joystick’s base plate includes common screw hole patterns:

60.1mm x 60.1mm with M4, compatible with Foxxmount and Monstertech mounts

100mm x 100mm with M4, VESA mount pattern

Compatibility

The 6DOF stick uses standard USB HID reports. This means that should it plug and play with any PC program that can work with six or more axes of analog input from conventional joysticks or other game controllers.

We don’t yet have custom drivers available for Mac OS or Linux, so if you intend you use the joystick with these operating systems, we don’t recommend backing this early access campaign.

Maintenance

We’ll offer technical support and basic repairs to functional components of the early access units. These will be free of charge for one year from shipping. (not including shipping costs, except in cases of manufacturing issues)

Discount

If any backers decide to order an additional joystick from our future larger-quantity Kickstarter campaign, we’ll offer a 50% discount off of the regular price for people who back this early access campaign.

Risks and challenges

In general, we’re confident in our ability to solve problems and provide a great product to you. Our team has years of experience in design for manufacturing as well as circuitry and programming.

The biggest risks will be the fabrication that we don’t directly control. The housings and most of the plastic parts are not being made by us, as this was found to be the most specialized and time intensive part of making the test units on our last build. Thus, although our efforts to closely manage outsourced work will be intensive, there is always room for quality control issues in all of the parts which might not be solved with a simple application of elbow grease and a deburring tool. This sort of problem could force a re-order and extension of delivery time. None of our components have a lead time greater than 1 month, so such a delay should not be especially large if it were to happen.

Over the course of the first month after successful funding, there will also be some small adjustments made to the design. What we have works, and it feels great, but to make assembly easier and the overall manufacturing more reliable, we have a number of improvements queued up. These are things like changing wall thicknesses/drafts/fillets, screw boss and circuit board placement, and splitting or combining parts for simplification of assembly. The table clamp could use some small expansions to widen the clamp throat and increase the adjustment range. Following this, the final models will be sent to the plastic casters and laser cutters who quoted our last set of drawings.

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Environmental commitments

Visit our Environmental Resources Center to learn how Kickstarter encourages sustainable practices.

Long-lasting design

We’ll be constructing the units out of durable materials including a steel base plate and clamp, and high-rating electronic components. We’ll also make available replacement parts and repair services, to ensure a long life for the units.

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

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    Pledge US$ 5 or more About US$ 5

    Digital Download - Joystick Handle

    3D print and test our ergonomics before buying! You will receive an STL file of our handle with solid, immobile finger controls in place. If we get 20 backers on this, we’ll send them before this campaign ends. If you back this reward, message us your email address to send the file to.

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    Sublight Dynamics T-Shirt

    You will receive a Sublight Dynamics T-shirt! This will be a dark gray T-shirt with the Sublight logo. For those who want to help the project, but aren’t interested in backing an early access joystick. Don't forget to message us your size, between M and XXL.

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    Pledge US$ 145 or more About US$ 145

    Back the 2020 Campaign Joystick

    This reward, for $145, is half of a pledge toward one of the larger-quantity, lower-price campaign joysticks in 2020. Essentially this is prepaying for 50% of a joystick in the future campaign. This effectively locks half of the price for you. So if the regular price in the next campaign ends up being $400, you’ve already paid $145, and you would then pay an additional 50%, $200, for a total price of $345.

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    Pledge US$ 985 or more About US$ 985

    Sublight 6DOF Joystick

    NO CLAMP OPTION

    You will receive a Sublight Dynamics 6DOF Early Access Joystick! Very limited quantity available for interested early adopters. This reward option is meant for users who already have a compatible mounting clamp or want to use a different type of clamp.

    Includes:
    • Sublight 6DOF Joystick
    • Arm rest plate
    • Left handed palm rest hardware
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    Pledge US$ 1,050 or more About US$ 1,050

    Sublight 6DOF Joystick

    You will receive a Sublight Dynamics 6DOF Early Access Joystick! Very limited quantity available for interested early adopters.

    Includes:
    • Sublight 6DOF Joystick
    • Mounting clamp
    • Arm rest plate
    • Left handed palm rest hardware
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    Pledge US$ 950 or more About US$ 950

    Sublight 6DOF Joystick

    EARLY BIRD -10%

    You will receive a Sublight Dynamics 6DOF Early Access Joystick! Very limited quantity available for interested early adopters.

    Includes:
    • Sublight 6DOF Joystick
    • Mounting clamp
    • Arm rest plate
    • Left handed palm rest hardware
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