Improved Foot Controller for Personal Computer

Period of Performance: 08/17/1989 - 02/16/1990


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Civilized Software, Inc.
Bethesda, MD 20814
Principal Investigator


A "mole" is a foot-controlled input device for a computer, particularly one capable of specifying a on-screen position. There are several specific circumstances win which a mole can facilitate computer access: 1) when the user has a permanent handicap of the upper body, but unimpaired lower body functionality; Such handicaps include amputation congenital deformity, arthritis, or paralysis; 2) when the user has a temporary handicap, e.g., a fracture or sprain. Facility with the mole is acquired with just a little practice; 3) when a technical task requires use of both hands, e.g., operation of a computer-controlled microscope. More generally, a mole may be useful whenever a locational device is required as part of a man/machine interface in industry, medicine, science, and the arts. Work is presently in progress on the latest mole prototype. In Phase I we propose: 1) to interface the current prototype to the IBM PC/XT/AT, initially as an emulator of a mouse; 2) to demonstrate the effectiveness of this interfacing in a specific software application involving manipulation of on-screen objects; 3) to specify improvements to the current prototype electronically, mechanically, and with respect to human factors, which would be carried out during Phase II.