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USB Foot Controls

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the not-just-for-garage-band-any-more dept.

Input Devices 123

MojoKid writes "When it comes to controlling your favorite PC title, you've got a few options. There's a mouse. There's a keyboard. There's a control pad and the joystick. Now, there's one more option apparently. Keith McMillen Instruments (KMI) announced today the SoftStep KeyWorx multi-touch foot controller, the world's first foot controlled digital interface. Available for Mac and Windows, this controller sits on the floor. The company claims that it has multiple uses for gamers, video editors, programmers, data entry professionals, disabled people, repetitive stress syndrome sufferers, etc. It's both pressure and location sensitive, USB-powered, and contains ten fully customizable keys that remember up to 100 sets of commands for repetitive tasks."

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This is seriously a world first?!!?? (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531888)

That wasn’t meant to be facetious I just assumed this already existed. Maybe not with pressure/location sensitive buttons in this exact incarnation... but I assumed the basic idea of “USB connected foot board” was already around.

I currently use my computer as a guitar amplifier (not as bad as it sounds really, with a decent (or even shitty) guitar interface/DI, impendence matcher, guitarix/rakarrack/jack-rack and all the assorted jack DAW stuff.. it’s actually pretty good (or at least good enough for an amateur like myself).

I had planned at some point on getting some kind of computer connected foot switch board (I’ve seen MIDI versions of this) to control the virtual effect pedals, and just assumed this kind of product already existed. If it doesn’t and this is the cheapest they come maybe I’ll be building my own ;p

Re:This is seriously a world first?!!?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531924)

asians and white people == prosperous country

niggers and spics == poor country

coincidence? nah.

Re:This is seriously a world first?!!?? (2)

chispito (1870390) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531946)

No, USB foot pedals have been around for ages. I'm not sure what is unique about this one other than maybe having more switches?

Re:This is seriously a world first?!!?? (2)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532024)

I guess three foot switches [tomtop.com] is not enough to be called a controller, but obviously "the world’s first foot controlled digital interface" is not factually correct. For that matter, there have been foot mouse interfaces appearing for twenty years.

Re:This is seriously a world first?!!?? (2)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532484)

There are some people who have converted church organ pedeals into a digital interface:

http://nearlydeaf.com/?p=827 [nearlydeaf.com]

Re:This is seriously a world first?!!?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36533578)

Do they come with the original 32' register still attached? 'cause that's what I want: groundshaking sound effects every time I use the foot controls.

Re:This is seriously a world first?!!?? (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36534920)

Of course. What do you think we are, philistines?

Re:This is seriously a world first?!!?? (1)

Savantissimo (893682) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532816)

What would be cooler would be a computer with a crank. Back in 1959 the Rice R1 had one for faster single-stepping through a program . A bicycle-type setup would be even more efficient. Used as a game controller, it might get a little much-needed exercise to heavy players.

MAME is ridin' spinners (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532968)

What would be cooler would be a computer with a crank.

MAME supports a "spinner", which amounts to a one-dimensional mouse with a dial. Unlike a "paddle", a spinner has no left or right rail. Attach the appropriate handle, and you have your crank.

Re:MAME is ridin' spinners (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#36533138)

I'm still waiting for the human powered generator to keep the computer running. If you stop pedaling or not doing it fast enough a little alarm goes off to tell you you have limited time to shut down or speed up.

Re:MAME is ridin' spinners (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#36534624)

I've seen a few of these done as concept.. the one that looked the most viable used a treadmill.

Personally I think it would be damn near impossible to work on a computer and keep up a good pace ... but I guess if you did something tedious (like data entry) it would be ok. Would probably make stress injuries a lot more likely though (dunno what the ergonomics guide says on the topic of "upright walking while typing" .. but it's probably not good).

Re:This is seriously a world first?!!?? (1)

Scutter (18425) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532036)

No, USB foot pedals have been around for ages. I'm not sure what is unique about this one other than maybe having more switches?

I remember using a foot mouse at Comdex maybe 15 years ago. It was way easier to use than I expected it to be. At least as easy as a standard desktop mouse. I always wondered why they never took off.

Re:This is seriously a world first?!!?? (4, Funny)

Urban Garlic (447282) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532290)

> I always wondered why they never took off.

Because they're on the floor, stuck under your foot?

Duh.

Re:This is seriously a world first?!!?? (1)

sockman (133264) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532358)

I see what you did there!

It was naughty.

Re:This is seriously a world first?!!?? (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 3 years ago | (#36533028)

The interesting part of this foot control device is that those things aren't just buttons, but that each "button" is essentially an analog stick with a pressure sensor and you have 10 of those things. So you have a lot more input data to play around with then on a regular foot pedal. So while it might not exactly be the worlds first, it looks like an interesting input device to play around with.

Re:This is seriously a world first?!!?? (1)

Nick Ives (317) | more than 3 years ago | (#36533078)

What's unique about this one is that they successfully spammed the /. submission queue.

Re:This is seriously a world first?!!?? (1)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531962)

There are plenty of midi foot controllers, and midi interfaces for computers are cheap. For guitar stuff, you'll definitely want something like that because it'll play better with DAW software than this device will.

Re:This is seriously a world first?!!?? (1)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532508)

That wasnâ(TM)t meant to be facetious I just assumed this already existed.

Of course it does. Every computer comes with a foot pedal and cup holder.

Re:This is seriously a world first?!!?? (2)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532720)

FTFA:

this controller is one of the first we've ever seen that sits on the floor

Re:This is seriously a world first?!!?? (1, Informative)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#36533324)

FTFA:

this controller is one of the first we've ever seen that sits on the floor

Which means that the people who wrote the article are idiots. Foot controllers have been used by transcriptionists for years to control the playback of the audio they are transcribing. Transcriptionists have been using foot controllers since at least 2000 (that is when I first had some interaction with that industry).

Re:This is seriously a world first?!!?? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532752)

I've had USB rudder pedals for flight simulators since the late1990's.

The only way this is new is if they mean this exact specific device.

The actual idea, the implementation and everything that goes along with it have been around for far longer than USB.

I had game port rudder peddles before they were USB. Nothing new here.

Re:This is seriously a world first?!!?? (2)

david_thornley (598059) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532764)

The first computer foot pedal I read about was a do-it-yourself job in a computer magazine back when eight-bit megahertz microprocessors without hardware multiply were the latest great thing, and shortly after the period when every home computer user needed an oscilloscope.

Re:This is seriously a world first?!!?? (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 3 years ago | (#36533082)

Yes they have existed in the past. Maybe not exactly this style, but I have used USB foot pedals. Why don't slashdot editors take some time to stop and think before posting such stories? They don't need to do full research but they just end up looking too naive when they post such obviously incorrect summaries.

Re:This is seriously a world first?!!?? (1)

skids (119237) | more than 3 years ago | (#36533560)

When I wanted a speed control for transcription I just threw a old joystick with a throttle control on the floor, and hacked it to talk to a LADSPA filter. Other than racing game gas pedals, it would have to be a pretty sweet device to make me want to buy another plastic home obstacle. Especially one that collects cat hair.

Don't game to a catchy beat (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531920)

No, not again!?! Leroy, you jerk!!!

Who'll be the first to mention one ass controlled? (1)

phonewebcam (446772) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531952)

Not me, that's for sure.

Rudder pedals? (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532004)

I pretty sure PC sim rudder pedals and or steering wheel pedals can claim prior art on the "world's first foot controlled digital interface"

Re:Rudder pedals? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532154)

I pretty sure PC sim rudder pedals and or steering wheel pedals can claim prior art on the "world's first foot controlled digital interface"

I'm pretty sure there are a number of effects pedals for guitars and keyboards, which incorporate processors and are highly programmable, which predate much of this by at least two decades.

Re:Rudder pedals? (1)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532558)

And of course pianos and organs with not only a full keyboard controlled by feet, but analog volume and iirc vibrato pedals as well

Connect it to a tablet and use it for sheet music (1)

proxima (165692) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532006)

One of the first ideas I had for a tablet for musicians was to display sheet music. The only trick is flipping the page. Granted, this is easier with a tap than a real page turn, but it could be even easier with a foot pedal.

A bluetooth "keyboard" could do this nicely and connect to hardware like the ipad without any special driver support. USB not so much, but presumably one of the other tablets out there could be made to work. If you have lots of people, though, bluetooth might suffer from interference.

Re:Connect it to a tablet and use it for sheet mus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36532054)

One of the first ideas I had for a tablet for musicians was to display sheet music. The only trick is flipping the page. Granted, this is easier with a tap than a real page turn, but it could be even easier with a foot pedal.

A bluetooth "keyboard" could do this nicely and connect to hardware like the ipad without any special driver support. USB not so much, but presumably one of the other tablets out there could be made to work. If you have lots of people, though, bluetooth might suffer from interference.

Already done. www.thegigeasy.com

Re:Connect it to a tablet and use it for sheet mus (1)

proxima (165692) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532404)

Already done. www.thegigeasy.com

Nice. A little pricey for what it is ($79 for a pedal-less bluetooth transmitter?) but such is the ways of a relatively niche product.

Re:Connect it to a tablet and use it for sheet mus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36533480)

Just pretend it's from Apple, and the price will seem more reasonable.

Re:Connect it to a tablet and use it for sheet mus (2)

Solandri (704621) | more than 3 years ago | (#36533522)

There are lots of them. You can even use a wireless mouse on the ground (wedge it in place with something) with the left/right buttons mapped to forward/back in a PDF. Foot pedals for turning pages is easy. The main problems with sheet music on a laptop/tablet have been:

- All the tablet screen sizes are too small - 10.1" max. Letter is equivalent to 13.9", A4 equivalent to 14.3", and the Henle Urtext pages are equivalent to 15.3". Yes the edges of the pages are blank, but they're still substantially larger than any tablet.

- They're too low resolution. The iPad looks like it would work, but 1024x768 is simply inadequate for any complex scores. It turns many of the details of an intricate Chopin or Listz score into a blurry mess. e-ink should have the advantage here, if it didn't take so long to turn pages.

- Laptops have pretty much all become widescreen 16:10 (1.6) or 16:9 (1.78). The old 4:3 (1.33) is nearly ideal for displaying letter (1.29) or A4 (1.41) sized sheet music with minimum wasted screen space. The Henle Urtexts are 1.32. Yes you could re-encode sheet music to fit the widescreen aspect ratio, but that gets to the last problem:

- AFAIK almost nobody is truly digitizing music. They're just scanning old sheet music into PDFs. The music score publishers are deathly afraid of going digital because they figure everyone will just copy all the scores instead of buying it from them. They've been milking the "change a few fonts and publish a new version with a new copyright" workaround to copyright expiration for centuries. So all that's left are independent musicians to take the time and effort to convert an out-of-copyright score into something like a .mus (Finale) file or MuseScore or LilyPond.

I ended up getting an old used tablet PC with a 1400x1050 12.1" screen.

Re:Connect it to a tablet and use it for sheet mus (2)

proxima (165692) | more than 3 years ago | (#36533776)

- All the tablet screen sizes are too small - 10.1" max. Letter is equivalent to 13.9", A4 equivalent to 14.3", and the Henle Urtext pages are equivalent to 15.3". Yes the edges of the pages are blank, but they're still substantially larger than any tablet.

I use an ipad for piano sheet music (Stanza has a beautiful interface to free music scores). Cropping out the margins with Goodreader helps tremendously.

- They're too low resolution. The iPad looks like it would work, but 1024x768 is simply inadequate for any complex scores. It turns many of the details of an intricate Chopin or Listz score into a blurry mess. e-ink should have the advantage here, if it didn't take so long to turn pages.

Granted, I'm not playing unbelievably complex music, but classical pieces are often available from Mutopia and can be re-typeset to a smaller page size.

Your point about eink is hogwash: they are not high resolution screens. In tricky lighting situations an ipad is much nicer. This is coming from a Kindle owner. Eink can be deceiving about its resolution for two reasons: there are no tiny spaces between "pixels", and the fonts are highly optimized for the exact screen configuration. This eliminates antialiasing and the fuzziness you perceive. It does not help at all for music scores.

- AFAIK almost nobody is truly digitizing music. They're just scanning old sheet music into PDFs. The music score publishers are deathly afraid of going digital because they figure everyone will just copy all the scores instead of buying it from them. They've been milking the "change a few fonts and publish a new version with a new copyright" workaround to copyright expiration for centuries. So all that's left are independent musicians to take the time and effort to convert an out-of-copyright score into something like a .mus (Finale) file or MuseScore or LilyPond.

See Mutopia [mutopiaproject.org] . This is better for piano players than others, but it is the Project Gutenberg of the music world. As for more modern music, you're stuck with scanned PDF. Of course, if you know you're going to do that, you can try to find music in a relatively small page form factor suitable for viewing on a 10" portrait screen with cropped margins.

Re:Digitizing music (2)

John Murdoch (102085) | more than 3 years ago | (#36534704)

Digitizing music has been going on for quite some time--the best of the apps is PhotoScore:

Neuratron PhotoScore [neuratron.com]

You can find tons of public domain music at the Werner Icking Music Archive [icking-music-archive.org] , save the PDFs, and open the PDFs in PhotoScore. You can then open them in Sibelius [sibelius.com] or another music editing application.

If the tablet has a microphone (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36533206)

One of the first ideas I had for a tablet for musicians was to display sheet music. The only trick is flipping the page.

If the tablet has a microphone, it can detect what pitch the musician is playing, match recent pitches to the notes of the piece to find how far the musician is through the piece, and scroll the next line of measures into view.

Not the First (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36532014)

It wasn't more than a month ago I had to install a USB foot pedal control system for a secretary. It was used to play back audio recordings of meetings so she could dictate them. One switch played/paused the recording, one fast forwarded, another one rewound, etc.

Waaaant (0)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532026)

I'd buy this if all it was was a 'boss button'.

*Stomp* *YouTube window minimizes*

Re:Waaaant (2)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532248)

That's a great idea! All that matters is what your boss can see, there's no way your internet connections could be logged by a server in another room!

Re:Waaaant (0)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532456)

That's a great idea! All that matters is what your boss can see, there's no way your internet connections could be logged by a server in another room!

Cubert Farnsworth's Livin-In-The-Real-World Tip of the Day: Can do != Does do

Re:Pr0n (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36532894)

Or you could use it to "surf" thereby keeping both hands "free".

And for musicians (1)

BurzumNazgul (1163509) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532044)

The pedal looks a lot like an effects pedal board. It could be useful for "home studio" type stuff.

Why only for mac and windows? (2)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532078)

And not for other OSes?

Re:Why only for mac and windows? (2)

ZPWeeks (990417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532364)

Because the other 2% of the market will have no problem creating its own support for a pretty straightforward USB I/O device?

Re:Why only for mac and windows? (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532496)

You're seriously asking this ;p

The answer is: the same reason everything else is for mac and windows.

First off, assuming those "other OSes" is Linux, releasing a propriatary app for use on Linux is non-trivial. Every distro is a little different, so you either support one specific distro (used to be red-hat, now will probably be Ubuntu) or have to keep on top of 6+ distributions. And if you make it available, and sell it as "Linux compatible", you have to support it. All this to get a _very tiny_ chunk of market share.

Assuming you don't want the software and only care about the hardware, it _might_ just work if it's done as a USB HID device and not some weird propriatary format. Either way, they are still not going to put "linux compatible" on the box because it's not worth the support headache for the few sales they might get. Unfortunately there is no marketting friendly way of saying "should work on linux, but we don't guarantee or support it" so at least one person has to bite the bullet and buy the thing.. then post on some forum ranting about how well it worked or how it wasen't even recognized.

Sucks, but that's the choice we make by choosing not to use one of the mainstream operating systems. At least USB has made this a little better... a lot of stuff
"just works" now, where before everything had it's own weird format and most of the time you were shit outa luck.

musicians would love this (1)

carlosap (1068042) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532108)

yes there are a lot of midi pedals, but this looks nice, quite configurable, i wonder what is the latency for playing it in real time.

Re:musicians would love this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36532490)

It was built for musicians - I got mine about 6 months ago....

and if anyone cared to check the kmi website out, they'd realise this - oh I forgot - this is /.

http://www.keithmcmillen.com/

Re:musicians would love this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36532660)

Indeed, nobody but a musician would pay such a ridiculous price for a mutant Dance Dance Revolution pad.

Except maybe the government for ADA compliance.

Re:musicians would love this (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36532844)

haha, in general I's agree (the hype for the op-1 is doing my head in at the mo')

But seriously, the thing is very well built (for live performances - stomp, stomp, stomp),each button has x-y-z sensitivity, and the mapping software is piss easy to use. It's pretty damn good for expressive midi control - and for simple loop controlling.

Ob Vi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36532170)

..finally a substitute for the esc key :D

So now (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532242)

When you play a FPS you can actually use your feet to WASD.

Buy some new shoes! (1)

Twillerror (536681) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532258)

Should you not have bought a brand new shiny pair of shoes for this demo? :)

Price. (1)

Sean_Inconsequential (1883900) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532268)

The price seems, how do I say this politely... a bit steep. You could pick up a second hand MIDI foot controller and something like Bome's MIDI translator [bome.com] , midiStroke [charlie-roberts.com] or bash something together in the programing language of your choosing. And I know at the very least the GIMP supports MIDI input devices, I wouldn't be surprised it there are other programs that do not as well.

Re:Price. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36532604)

Gimps have no use for foot pedals, you insensitive jerk!

My wish has come true (3, Funny)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532280)

Finally, I can have my Windows reboot pedal. That could be a real timesaver.

Re:My wish has come true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36533900)

Yup. CTRL: mapped to left foot. ALT: mapped to right foot. DEL... umm, let's not go there...

First? (1)

Mister Fright (1559681) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532284)

What about Power Pad [wikipedia.org] ?

Awkward? (1)

yarnosh (2055818) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532316)

Looks extremely awkward to use. Was hopping it was more of a gesture based thing. Moving your foot around and hitting locations on a pad without looking just seems difficult.

Re:Awkward? (2)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532684)

As it so happens I played with one of these things for a few hours (friend got one for a music setup). When I first saw it, I was excited and was seriously considering buying one for myself, since I love having access to more ways to design shortcuts and streamline my computer work-flows. Alas, I was quite disappointed with it. The main problem are:
1. The buttons are flat and small (compared to a foot, I mean), making it hard to know which button you're actually touching. If you're shoe-less, then you can feel around with your toes, and figure out which button is which (though this is pretty slow). With shoes on you have no hope of knowing where you're hitting without actually looking. This rather defeats the idea of having a foot pedal for computer control. At best, you could program this to be perhaps 3 keys (by grouping the left keys, the middle keys, and the right-most 'direction-pad' to trigger three different functions).
2. The buttons have effectively no 'give' or feedback. The only way I knew I was actually pressing the buttons was seeing the triggers in the programming application. This has the unfortunate effect of causing you to press the keys really hard, so that you know you've activated them, which gets annoying and tiring very quickly.
3. No Linux support. It can probably be done with a bit of effort (I gave up getting it to work in Linux after some testing I did on OS X revealed the above flaws), but there is no official support.

Basically, the ergonomics of the device are terrible. I don't understand how this could be useful even for a musician, since they too would want something that they can find with their foot without looking, and know that they've triggered it (a traditional guitar foot pedal has nice feedback). I would not recommend this product.

Incidentally, I have the same complaint about the Fragpedal Deluxe [gizmodo.com] : the buttons have essentially no give, and take too much force to activate. I'm still searching for a good USB foot pedal that has a satisfying key-like feedback and ergonomics properly designed for activation by, you know, a foot.

OH YEAH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36532328)

Now I can kick ass while kicking ass! I'll make sure to map the tilde key to this so i can mighty foot while I mighty foot.

Rebooting (1)

shantanusharma (862995) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532366)

I for one welcome our new computer rebooting overlords!

Gonna wait for the 2nd or 3rd (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532372)

When a company says that they're the first to provide something to a consumer, it just makes me want to wait for the 2nd or 3rd iteration. The first always has bugs, is always more expensive, and is always improved upon. Thanks for letting me know not to consider your product, guys. In the meantime I can just use USB racing pedals, they seem to work pretty well at doing the same thing, and the buttons aren't as tiny as the one in the submitted article.

Re:Gonna wait for the 2nd or 3rd (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532848)

Fortunately, digital foot pedels are like 20 years old at this point, so this isn't exactly first generation hardware. This is definately a first generation implementation by a company that does marketing that is either clearly a lye, or indicates they have absolutely no experience in computers ... otherwise they'd be aware of all the other existing implementations of the same thing that came before them.

Either way you look at it, no informed person would buy from this company at this point in time.

Re:Gonna wait for the 2nd or 3rd (1)

yarnosh (2055818) | more than 3 years ago | (#36534716)

I suspect they've never actually used it themselves either. I mean, the precision you'd need with your feet is incredible. THere's no way I could hit those tiny diamond cursor buttons without looking. Hell, even looking I would probably have a hard time with shoes on. This has to be a joke.

Use a trackball! (1)

SkiItIfYouCan (523527) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532412)

One of my EE professors in college drove a trackball with his feet while both hands typed away. Really impressive to watch.

Now my toes won't sit there.... (1)

ip_freely_2000 (577249) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532426)

....like some welfare bum laughing as my fingers pound endlessly away at the keyboard. 10 Fingers plus 10 Toes = DOUBLE PRODUCTIVITY!!!!!

No Free Hands (2)

Dusthead Jr. (937949) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532482)

I considered getting something like this for my digital art setup. Right now i have an old tabletpc with a nostromo speedpad 51n. In my right hand holds a stylus and my left is on the speedpad. The idea is that I never have to touch the toolbar or the menu with the hand that i draw with. It's very liberating to switch from paintbrush to eraser and to zoom in and out without doing all kinds of keyboard combos. The only problem is that you can't modify color in Photoshop, but you can with GIMP.

Re:No Free Hands (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532896)

Now if they'd just make a speedpad that didn't feel like ass, you'd have a winner.

I love the idea, but got those are the cheapest feeling devices I've ever used. They look like the old built strong enough to throw against the wall video game controllers from years ago, but they feel so horrible to actually use. Every button on it requires too much force in just the direction in order for the button to move, and if you don't push it just right, you need so much force that you're completely distracted by it.

I bought a second one just to make sure it wasn't just a bad build on the first one, nope, the both suck equally.

Re:No Free Hands (1)

Dusthead Jr. (937949) | more than 3 years ago | (#36533532)

I admit the speedpad is a bit janky, especially the thumbwheel, which I have mapped to zooming in and out. But for how I use it its not too bad. I can imagine if you are using it for an FPS or an RPG you would want it to deal with rapid and precise key presses. For me, as long I press a key and it works I'm good. With that said, I would don't mind a smother thumbwheel and a trackpad for panning images.

Ergonomy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36532500)

I've been told a thousand times about posture when working multiple hours a day in front of a computer. This involves keyboard & mouse placement along with arms resting properly etc, but also legs position. This foot thing might not be exactly ergonomic. Just saying.

First, my ass (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36532562)

Has no one ever heard of midi foot controllers?

Restless leg syndrome... (1)

dorianh49 (988940) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532730)

My restless leg syndrome might cause the controls to go haywire and open undesirable websites, though.

Re:Restless leg syndrome... (1)

Schwhat (1993980) | more than 3 years ago | (#36533032)

Also this is not advisable for use to anyone nicknamed Thumper.

Steering your way through the internet (1)

syntheticmemory (1232092) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532776)

Next, power steering with cruise control. Browsing the internet will be like cruising the interstate.

Bypasses Apple's Patent (1)

Happler (895924) | more than 3 years ago | (#36533018)

After all, this is multi-touch with feet and not multi-touch with fingers....

Hardly the first (2)

jdcope (932508) | more than 3 years ago | (#36533054)

Secretaries and those who do medical transcription have been using them for years.

you don't realize how cool it is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36533120)

I have one and it is great. You don't realize how cool it is till you play with it yourself. Very thin, lightweight, carbon fiber back, water (beer) proof. It was first marketed to musicians, which is when I got one for controlling Ableton Live. The world of midi foot controllers was very sad indeed until the softstep came along. Try configuring an FCB 1010 and get back to me saying the softstep isn't cool as hell.

Absolutely a first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36533148)

The innovative thing about this controller (Note: this IS a MIDI controller) is each pedal/pad has 3 axes of output (X, Y, and twist) plus pressure sensitivity.

This means each pedal can be mapped to 4 distinct scalar controls. My only gripe is that the pedals are too small. Quadruple the pedal size and this is 100% win.

Do it with the mouse (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 3 years ago | (#36533234)

If you have a decent flat surface and take your shoe off you can use a normal mouse perfectly well with your foot. Decent control (gets better with practice, and it feels like having fine control over your leg should be useful for something), and leaves both hands free for the keyboard.

Re:Do it with the mouse (1)

benow (671946) | more than 3 years ago | (#36534106)

I remember hearing of a Dell tech support request, where an old woman could not figure out why her computer was not working. She had it plugged in, the monitor was attached, but no matter how hard she pushed on the foot pedal, it wouldn't come on. She was expecting it to work like a sewing machine, and was stepping on the mouse to make it go.

Eh, ok? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36533236)

I guess it's neat, but I don't see it being a huge changer for how we work and use computers.

I can see it having a great deal of adaptability for the disabled using a computer minus a hand or two.

I Hacked together a Foot controller in 1998 (1)

dynamator (964799) | more than 3 years ago | (#36533294)

I hacked together a 3 peddles deal that was wired directly into a PS-2 mouse. Saved my hands when I was doing hours of 3D modeling. Drove my neighboring cube buddies crazy with the endless clicking. This was 1998, and I got the idea from a guy who did it at least three years earlier. In 2008 I bought an off-the-shelf 3 paddle USB foot input from a place called Fentech. This new device mentioned here might have directional control that will slew the mouse using four arrow peddles. Similar devices have been available on the assistive technology market for quite a few years.

Up next: USB dick control. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36533296)

USB + cock ring = simple on/off switch. For those late night fap sessions.

Breath Controler (1)

jvillain (546827) | more than 3 years ago | (#36533322)

When do we get a breath controller like the Yamaha DX-7 had?

MIDI foot controllers (1)

chaynlynk (1523701) | more than 3 years ago | (#36533544)

I've done this with MIDI foot controllers before. If you count the fact that many MIDI devices also have USB interfaces, then this has been done before.

Years Ago... (1)

carrier lost (222597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36533584)

...when I was first mastering VI, a co-worker mentioned that he thought it needed a foot-pedal connected to the Escape key.

Re:Years Ago... (1)

yarnosh (2055818) | more than 3 years ago | (#36534744)

Hmm, escape and enter foot pedals. Like gas and break. Perfect.

Handy for the disabled (1)

cyberchondriac (456626) | more than 3 years ago | (#36533736)

I think this might find applicability for amputees, and/or other disabled persons. Could be a boon for wounded vets, for example.
..though the tricky thing might be the initial setup, which seems to require a standard mouse at the very least.

Re:Handy for the disabled (1)

yarnosh (2055818) | more than 3 years ago | (#36534760)

What cruel person would give something like this to a person who has had their feet amputated? You insensitive clod.

Here's a better idea. (1)

phozz bare (720522) | more than 3 years ago | (#36533804)

1. Get a Comfy [comfyland.com] keyboard.
2. Remove baby stickers.
3. Attach to USB port.

Voila, a foot keyboard for $80.

not "the first" digital foot controls (1)

cstacy (534252) | more than 3 years ago | (#36533928)

I saw foot controls (on one of the Lisp Machines) in 1980. (I doubt that was the first time someone did that, either.)

finally! (1)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | more than 3 years ago | (#36534014)

I can now have 8 additional new modifiers for my emacs configuration :)

DDR Pad + adaptor + Joy2Mouse (+ XInput) (1)

benow (671946) | more than 3 years ago | (#36534056)

Several years ago I was interested to see how feet could be used for coding. I got a ps2 DDR pad and ps2 to USB adaptor. It showed up as a joystick. With joy2mouse in X I could control the mouse with a foot... left, right, up, down, left stamp, right stamp, double stamp, etc. It worked, but wasn't too useful. The center of the pad was in the wrong place due to the chair, and moving the chair caused a misalignment with the buttons.

It might have also been possible to map from joystick to keyboard events too. The pressure sensitivity of the posted device probably makes it more useful.

new class of repetetive stress injury for the futu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36534062)

I would like to try one of these. Specifically I'd like to be able to attack (one hand), turn (other hand), and backpedal or strafe (foot) at the same time while tanking boss monsters in Warcraft. The Kinesis Savant Elite 3-pedal looks like the best thing for me, but it's $170 (still a bit much).

However, part of me can't help but wonder if it will just create a new class of RSI in your ankle/knee/hip for some users who go overboard.

and tomorrow.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36534228)

they get sued by microsoft for patent infringement.

finally (1)

bunbuntheminilop (935594) | more than 3 years ago | (#36534946)

I used to work in a Chemistry lab. It was often that my hands were busy AND I needed to press space bar so some dumb software can start it's analysis.

Better product's been around for decades (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36534994)

I've been using a Behringer fcb 1010 midi pedal with photo shop for some time now. At the time I bought it, it was the only one with two expression pedals that didn't cost five hundred dollars. This type of controller might be worthwhile if the buttons were further apart and the price was right.

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