Microsoft this week won a patent titled “Foot-based interface for interacting with a computer.” The basic idea is for users to move their feet and step on the floor to execute various commands, such as deleting email or scrolling down the screen.
“In addition to causing health problems, the traditional keyboard and mouse interface can be simply inconvenient in certain situations as well,” the patent reads. “In one instance, a mother with a baby in her arms is unable to easily perform simple tasks, such as checking email, on a computer. In another instance, interactive advertisement from businesses lack an effective interface that enables easy interaction with shoppers that carry bags in their hands.”
The original interface demonstrated by the company used a “Dance, Dance Revolution”-style floor pad for input, but the Feb’06 patent application also talks about using electromagnetic waves to detect the motion of the feet, previewing how the Kinect’s infrared sensor now works to detect the motion of gamers.