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FreeDee Controller

  • Personal project
  • App turns smartphone into a magic 3D controller
  • Unique and intuitive controlling expeience


FreeDee has emerged from experiments involving smartphone sensors. We discovered that the smartphone's gyroscope can provide highly precise orientation data with virtually no delay. We transmit this data to 3Ds Max through a WiFi connection and synchronize it with the orientation of the 3D object in the software. As a result, the object rotates precisely as the smartphone does in the user's hand.
The experience is almost magical, creating the sensation that the virtual model is right at our fingertips. 

As a comparison, let's consider the control mechanism of the Space Mouse, a leader in 3D mice. In the case of the Space Mouse, the joystick is used to manipulate the camera, not the object itself. This approach can make the control experience less immediate and more intuitive.


Our prototype received positive feedback from our 3D artist friends, although they expressed a desire for a zoom function for their daily use. While adding this new feature, it was essential to ensure that it didn't divert the user's attention away from their primary focus – the monitor screen. To address this, we integrated the zoom function with a vertical swipe.

User Interface

Now we needed a new visual metaphor on the screen that could represent both the zoom and the rotation. The best thing would be to display the model or the coordinate grid from the 3D software. But this was not technically possible because the app does not receive any information from 3Ds Max. After a long search, I happened to come across a comic strip, "Lost in Line" by Léopold Lambert, where the protagonist wanders through the abstract line structure.

The image was an inspiration to the user interface. On the phone screen, we now have a landscape of lines. Using the horizontal and vertical swipe gestures, you "move" forward, backward, or turn to the sides.

On the one hand, it perfectly visualized the user inputs. On the other, it was a visually delightful experience. 

In 2016, FreeDee not only won a Red Dot Award but was also included in the category "Best of the Best". The jury stated: “a path-breaking solution”.