Thanko USB Foot Switch gives the boot to computer mice
By Ben Coxworth
May 27, 2011
If you find that having your hands on the keyboard and mouse still isn't giving you enough control over your computer, perhaps you'd like to let your feet in on the action, too. While some people might think that's overkill, it's precisely what the Thanko USB Foot Switch lets you do. Available as either a single pedal or a joined trio, the floor-located device plugs into your PC's USB port, and controls a function (or three) of your choice via foot taps.
Users can assign any key function to the pedal(s), although suggestions include executing macros, enabling special characters, changing the keyboard language, or simply turning the power on. True multi-taskers could even combine multiple sets of pedals, foot-controlling six or more functions ... depending on how USB-endowed their computer is.
This isn't Thanko's first foray into playing footsy. The company also sells something known as the StealthSwitch, made by Chicago electronics company H-Mod. The device is supposed to be hidden beneath the user's desk. If they're playing solitaire, or otherwise using their computer for illicit purposes, they can use the switch to quickly and discreetly hide their current window, should someone start heading their way.
H-Mod has since come out with the StealthSwitch II, which works with PCs or Macs. Like the single USB Foot Switch, it can be programmed to perform any one key or mouse function that the user wishes. As many as four slave switches can be hooked up to the main switch, allowing for up to five foot-controllable functions.
The USB Foot Switch was launched this week, and works on Windows XP, 7 and Vista. It's available via GeekStuff4U, at approximately US$53 for the single version, and about $94 for the triple. The StealthSwitch II can be purchased via the product website, at a price of US$39.95 for the main switch, and $14.95 for each slave switch.