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Foot-Controlled Computer

Input devices utilizing feet.
  (+6, -1)
(+6, -1)
  [vote for,

I've always had the problem of trying to eat something and read a website at the same time; one hand must always remain free to either press the page down button or click and scroll. Some sort of hands-free device seems to be in order. Voice activation is annoying, and eye tracking is yet to be perfected for the home consumer. A foot-controlled device seems to be in order.

Racecar-game accessories (steering wheel and pedals) could be utilized, but they require both feet and aren't really suited to the task. A heavy-duty mouse could presumably be used, but it would require some major foot dexterity (especially if you want to go barefoot with a 3-button mouse) and relative concentration.

Thus far I have a few potential canidates for foot-control technology. One is a sewing-machine treadle-type device, a glorified toggle switch (with USB capability). Its capabilities would be limited to scrolling. A four-way, joystick type model is possible, but seems as though it would be a little clunky. Another canidate would be based upon the Nintendo PowerPad™ of my early childhood, a peripheral used for games involving running. For those not in the know (highly unlikely 'round these parts), it is a vinyl pad with an array of pressure sensors (piezoelectric, perhaps? I'm not too sure about how it works...) meant for games specially designed for it, involving running atop the pad (i.e. that one olympics game). A desk-bottom (get it?!?) sized version would be in order, possibly providing mouse-level control. My final idea is a device that would be strapped to one's lower leg using radio waves, infrared technology, or gyroscopes to detect the position of one's ankle. The treadle would be used in conjunction with the tracking device, providing the ability to point and click.

This is my first post on the halfbakery... whaddy'all think?

LimePi, Apr 28 2002

STEP ON IT! http://www.bilbo.com/
Limited functionality. [phoenix, Apr 29 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Ninja Edge foot switch (USB) http://www.compgc.com/specs.htm
This one too. [phoenix, Apr 29 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Input devices: a usage-driven approach http://www.research...dex_footpedals.html
What kind of barnyard-backyard-trailerpark setup is that? [phoenix, Apr 29 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

NoHands Mouse® http://www.infogrip...&optiontxt=Pointing
One foot points, one foot clicks. [jester, Apr 30 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Ninja Edge foot switch (USB) http://www.compgc.com
Great for first person shooters along with the keyboard and mouse. High quality product, been using for 2 years for gaming and word processing with no problems. [dr_ephemeron, Aug 12 2002]

The SideKick http://www.moritzdesigns.com/sidekick/
Built in a woodshop. One "step" better than STEP ON IT! Too small & old joystick input technology. [dr_ephemeron, Aug 12 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

NoHands Mouse® http://www.footmouse.com/
They look like a good quality product. Would work great for mouse functions, but what about keyboard functions? No USB. [dr_ephemeron, Aug 12 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

nXPeds - Foot Pedal http://www.nxpeds.com
New Industrial & Office design. Can be used with any software package and programmed to do anything. Can use any recording software. Better than all the rest! [dr_ephemeron, Oct 04 2004]

ShortStep Foot Keyboard http://shorttalk-em...hortStep/index.html
I'm the genius behind the ShortStep "barnyard- backyard-trailerpark setup" foot keyboard that phoenix kindly referred to --- some 8 years ago. Meanwhile, I've continued using this foot keyboard over many years. (Usually I quickly loose interest in my own gadgets.) And I continue to believe that it should have a role for people who've lost use of their arms or perhaps just suffer from chronic forearm tendinitis. Anyway, I wrote just to provide a corrected URL. Thanks. . [nick_007, Sep 17 2010]


       By "gyroscopes" do you mean "accelerometers?"
bristolz, Apr 28 2002

       Well, probably hooking up your feets to a computer will be done and will be good, and will be a brief waystation on the way toward wearable, implantable computers that are wired to many and varied internal organs, parts, and pieces-parts. And although magazines like Popular Science seem to be featuring more frequent articles about this, in a trend that seems similar to their recurring articles about houses that are wired to distraction (the HB "Film Noir House" idea tops anything PS has done), I'll steer clear of both the wired house and the wired wetware. There is something to be said for woodstoves and candles and unprocessed food. I think happiness in these times can be found by subtraction of many new things--many of which in the long run turn out to be half-baked.
entremanure, Apr 28 2002

       It's a good start. The IBM 2250 Model 1, an interactive graphics device built in the 60's had a light pen, used to select items on the screen. The user aimed the pen at the object on the screen, then pressed a foot pedal to activate the selection.
BMeng, Apr 28 2002

       Why not control the whole pen with your toes?
jester, Apr 29 2002

       Xerox PARC came up with a foot mouse very early on that they named "The Mole".
Aristotle, Apr 29 2002

       The Rat, as you call this device has already been invented and was not that successful.
smokeyjohnson, Aug 13 2002

       There are lots of biots of technology that rely on the operator using their foot or feet in a coordinated way; cars and aircraft, musical intruments, sewing machines - so why not computers ?   

       I can think of a few situations where being able to use one's feet as well as hands would be useful. Something more sophisticated than a foot-drivne mouse, or gaming pedals, would be interesting. Tricky to implement on laptops, though. Croissant.
8th of 7, Aug 13 2002

       You guys are missing the boat, the foot switch has never been even mildly mainstream in computer usage. The reason why you ask? Because no rich corporation has done an advertising campain for them. If the big game controller manufacturers had them in on the shelfs at best buy, you all would be buying them and saying how great they are. It's funny how usefull, practical technology can be staring people right in the face, but their thoughts are controlled by big corporate propoganda. You think anyone would of used a mouse without the marketing hype? Most likely not! I remember when the corporations were force feeding people mouse technology and most mice just sat on the desk and was never touched. It wasn't until software started taking advantage of them and people took the initiative to use the mouse and then they saw how usefull it was. Well the foot switch needs no special software... it is just waiting to be the next standard accesory right along side the mouse and keyboard... not some pipe dream of a cyber implant. If there was something better than the foot switch, you would of seen it implemented in the music and transcription industry a long time ago. Trying to operate a mouse with your feet is a waste of time... mouse functions are for your hand because your hand is a precision tool that needs a precision instrument like a mouse. It would be like trying to sew or write with you feet... makes no sense unless you have to do it that way due to a physical challenge.
dr_ephemeron, Aug 29 2002

       am i actually the only one here who has actually used a mouse with his feet before?   

       it didn't go too well. went back to using my hands like before...
urbanmatador, Apr 03 2003


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