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foot operated computer mouse

foot operated computer mouse

The author built the functions of a mouse into a footrest so that he could compose and edit text without breaking my train of thought and taking his hands off the keyboard to fumble with a conventional mouse or trackball.
Components
PVC architectural plastic sheet for foot board, 1/2 inch thick (actual 0.470), 17 inches by 22 inches, chosen because it is slick.
1 optical mouse.
2 roller lever switches, order or find walk-in store that stocks them at radioshack.com.
7 feet clear plastic tubing, 1/2-inch inside dia, 3/4-inch outside dia.
Screws for fastening tubing to foot board, 1-inch long #6 phillips pan head, and washers.

Each foot has a defined rest position that allows for some fidgeting without sending mouse commands. Sliding the left foot forward from the rest position makes a left click, and rotating that foot and sliding it forward makes the less-used right click. Pointer motion is achieved by lifting the right foot slightly and moving it over the upturned mouse. I had no need to implement the scroll wheel.

The mouse is oriented the same as if used conventionally, with its wire tail aimed away from the user, but rolled over belly up. Sliding the foot left causes the pointer to move left across the screen, and sliding the foot forward causes the pointer to move down. This latter may be disorienting for some users, and the vertical movement can be reversed using the mouse control setting offered by some operating systems. You can also download Sakasamouse, which will allow you to change the direction of either or both mouse axes, and restore them. I adjust the pointer speed to the lowest setting.

You can operate my footmouse with slippers that slide easily because their plastic soles have become slick with use. The same effect could be achieved by pulling XXL size men’s cotton socks over slippers or even street shoes (You know what they say about men who have big feet. That’s right, it means they have big socks). Size of the foot board and locations of the elements depend on the size of the user’s feet and their comfortable rest positions.

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