Of mice and feet.

I purchased a new mouse from Apple, and I like it. But it made me think of a concept user interface tool that I invented for a tutorial on user interfacing some years ago: the rat. This was a foot-operated user interaction device, conceptually with a couple of pedals as well. the idea was that one used it rather like a mouse – but it kept one’s hands both free for use on the keyboard, and avoided the difficulties that I for one have with a cluttered (physical!) desk and space to move a mouse. My students didn’t think it would catch on (perhaps it was the name: some rodents are more attractive – think Tom and Jerry – but I can’t think of any cartoon rats!). And no-one ever beat a path to my door trying to take up the idea (but then, I never patented it). Perhaps it would be better as a large foot-operated trackball (think something football sized), perhaps it needs a different name (squirrel? cat? or perhaps something non-animal, like footmouse?). If anyone feels like taking it up (perhaps it already exists? I shall resist googling and looking for it) perhaps they could comment.

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