Commodity priced PCs now come with powerful three-dimensional (3D) graphic capabilities that allow new applications to incorporate 3D interactivity. But, there are few low cost 3D input devices available for the desktop non-immersive virtual reality (VR) applications. Interactive systems that use a 3D world should ideally be complimented with a 3D input device. Such devices have previously been built mainly for immersive virtual reality systems and are not well suited for desktop systems. They are also expensive. Our device is intended to provide a low cost, intuitive full 3D input with six degrees of freedom. As well, it was to be used with the non-dominant hand, freeing the other hand for finer-motor skills to use a conventional mouse or the keyboard. We have built a prototype device that was inspired by the mechanics of the gimbal mount for a gyroscope. We used a field programmable gate array (FPGA) to provide rapid prototyping of the electronics from the sensors to the computer. Initial evaluation shows promise but also some problems together with suggestions for improvements. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.