It is primarily used by users with disabilities or with high-back or neck problems. It is also promoted as a way to prevent such problems in the future and as a means to increase productivity by not having to move one's hand between the keyboard and mouse.
There are about ten types of footmice. Not all of them are commercially available. Some specialized companies design their own foot controlled mouse for disabled people.
The main difference between the different types of footmice is a flat pedal which slides or a pedal which tilts. There also exists a mouse adapter which converts a conventional mouse to a footmouse that slides and horizontally tilts to one side. A footmouse that uses sliding can be a slipper with a mouse connected to it, or a special frame in which a pedal can move around. Also a tiny magnet or other location device can be used on a tablet. A footmouse that uses a tilting pedal has one or two pedals which are able to tilt and turn in one or more directions. Buttons that are pushed by the feet are not considered footmice.
Using a footmouse is slower than a normal mouse (a handmouse), since most people have less control over precise movements with their feet and legs than with their hands. (Human-computer interaction researchers note even though people commonly use foot pedals to control cars, sewing machines, or speech transcription equipment, foot-operated controls are used in these applications for starting and stopping, rather than navigating.)
If the footmouse is used together with a keyboard, the cursor can be moved around while typing, so there is no time wasted for moving the hand between the keyboard and the mouse. If a person cannot use a keyboard, a virtual keyboard on the screen can be used to type text by clicking each character on the virtual keyboard. People who also have less control over their foot and leg movement and are unable to operate a footmouse can sometimes use a few switches for setting the cursor in a certain direction.
- Dance pad, a foot control device used in some computer games
- Simpson, Richard C. (2013), Computer Access for People With Disabilities: A Human Factors Approach, Rehabilitation Science in Practice, CRC Press, pp. 58–59, ISBN 1466553715
- Harriman, Cynthia W. (1985-09-23), "Alternatives for cursor control: footmouse, pad, or view system", InfoWorld, 7 (38): 48–49
- Fassbender, Eric; Richards, Debbie (2008), "Using a dance pad to navigate through a virtual heritage environment of Macquarie Lighthouse, SydneyGJSHD K[KFG[PRE]G ]", in Kenderdine; Docherty, Michael (eds.), VSMM 2007, Volume 4820 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science / Information Systems and Applications, incl. Internet/Web, and HCI, Springer, p. 10, ISBN 3540785655
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