A Controller for Your Feet

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Controllers have, for the most part, always been for your hands. It’s a necessary situation right? After all, aside from motion controls and the odd pedal accessory for racing games, how could a controller make sense for anything but your hand? Oddly enough, more than you would initially think.

The problem with only being able to use your hands to interact with a game is that any player, no matter how skilled, can only reach so many buttons or keys at a time. While not necessarily a problem for most games, it is still annoying when reaching for a key or button causes a death or setback. Devices like controller overlays and gaming mouse/keyboards can make all the necessary actions easier to reach, but don’t address the underlying problem of having to rely solely on one’s hands. This is where something like the Stinky Footboard comes in. It solves the problem quite effectively. Unlike most of the add-on controllers, which try to find ways to do more with the hands, the Footboard does as its name implies and gives your feet something to do instead.

I had the opportunity to give this odd device a try at PAX, and I have to admit that I was skeptical going in. I was doubtful that something like this would feel natural after having been playing games with controllers and keyboards, and my doubts were correct…for all of 5 minutes. After spending a few minutes with the device, It started to feel pretty good.  I was playing Battlefield 3 in order to test out how the board can improve reaction times. For demonstration purposes, functions tied to the board during my play session were: sprint, crouch/prone, melee, and reload. I, being a total stranger to Battlefield, was not doing so well at first (I died a lot). After I got a feel for the board however, I was suddenly able to turn myself around. I was still dying of course, but not as often. Using the board freed up my hands to concentrate on shooting and navigating while I left all the extra stuff to my foot. After 10 minutes of play, the board made as much sense to be playing with as the traditional controller did; it feels that good.

I was told by the presenter at the show how it was designed so that the player would be able to rest their foot on the board rather than constantly apply tension as one would with a pedal add-on. The board supports up to 16 actions being mapped to it, and is also fully customize-able in terms of spring tensions (how much force you have to apply to the buttons to trigger them). It’s compatible with all games that support a keyboard input and is currently supported by Windows only.

If you’d like to more about this excellent controller, just check out there site here.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Vitosal says:

    wow, I never would have thought of that. Seriously interesting. So what all was your foot controlling then? Did you have to touch the board with different parts of your feet, or different parts of the board? What about the response time, was it any good? How did movement work?

    Like

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      This was something fully customizeable, so you could set it to control any action you want. When I tried it, the board was set to handle sprinting, crouching, melee, and reloading and set to the forward, back right, and left sectors of the board respectively.

      You used the board by resting one foot in its center, than applying pressure in the direction that triggered the action you wanted. Response time was as fast as a keystroke or mouse-click, no latency at all.

      The board wasn’t in charge of movement when I used it, though I suspect that if it were it would be like a d-pad you controlled with your foot.

      From what I was told, one can even hook up two boards and have one on each foot for even more actions to perform with your feet. The board by itself can handle up to 16 unique command inputs since it recognizes modifier keys like shift and ctrl.

      Like

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