ITP Spring Show 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2-6pm & Monday, May 11, 5-9 pm

Edward Gordon
Emily Ryan
Lina Giraldo

Mouse Pad

Mouse Pad is a floor mat that functions as a computer mouse and allows the user to operate the device with their feet instead of their hands, thus easing the stress of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Introduction to Physical Computing

We spend much of our time in front a computer using only our hands to operate the mouse and keyboard that control the device. This places a lot of stress on our wrists which can lead to health problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome. For this project in our Introduction to Physical Computing class, we sought to create an interface that would allow people to interact with their computers with their feet as well as their hands. Accordingly, we hacked an old PC mouse and transplanted its functions onto a footpad, which we playfully formed in the shape of a mouse head. The mouse "face" was divided into four quadrants onto which we mapped four Force Sensing Resistors (FSRs) that controlled two DC motors connected to the encoder wheels of the mouse that determine the positions of the X- and Y-axes of the cursor on the screen. This allowed the user to move the cursor up or down, and left or right by pressing the correct place on the pad. Two other FSRs were placed in the left and right "ears" of the mouse head to operate relays that signaled the hacked mouse to perform a left and right click when the corresponding ear was stepped on. Overall this project allows the user to easily navigate the computer with their feet, and engages them in a different and interesting way while relieving some of the stress on their hands and wrists while using the computer.