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Saturday, 3 September 2005

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For those of us struggling with the confines of the standard 'keyboard and mouse' set-up with our PCs, the answer may well be answered by the answer from BioKey Inc. Their answer? A wearable input device which aims to make quick work of transforming your entire PC experience. Here at The Spoof we have recieved a pre-release version of their EZFEETÂȘ. Inspired by the modern craze for dance hardware, and in part by the toystore scene in Tom Hanks' seminal work "Big", the modular kit contains a hinged set of floor tiles (FUTBORD) in an intuitive layout, and a hi-tech bipedal figure-hugging unit, or PEROSHOOZ as the folks at BioKey Inc. call it.


The compact Futbord folds out from a compact 30cm square (not including external PSU) to an impressive 60cm by 1metre 80cm when flat. Two configurations will be available, one aimed at those familiar with a QWERTY layout, and a new alternative layout based around the 'Irish Riverdance' KV9PX6&Q model.

The most innovative part of the kit would have to be the Peroshooz however. Looking similar to a fashionable pair of Converse All-Stars, but with 5 programmable laces and scroll tongue, the user simply attaches the 'shooz' snuggly to his or her or his feet. Standing on the Futbord, one can then begin entering text, after donning the safety goggles and crash helmet. Unique sensors (with 512 levels of sensitivity) pick up residual and not so residual magnetic fields emitted bythe Futbord. The Futbord, connected via ultra-fast USB1.1, translates the user's leg movements into a binary signal and back 18 times before 'pushing' the 'data' to the 'computer'. Thus cursor movements, with practice, can be achieved using circular movements of the foot. Button clicks can be activated using a quick side-step or a tap on any office furniture, for example a small horse. In our pre-release version, however, we had only a 5cm connecting cable between the shooz, restricting movement a little. We have been assured by those boffins at BioKey Inc. that this will be ironed out before eventual release.

After use, the device simply folds away, saving you a valuable [insert are here - Ed] of floor real estate. At just 23 kilos, the kit weighs little more than something weighing 22 kilos. Using a reasonable suitcase, preferably with wheels and a handle, the device is surprisingly portable. The opportunity to use the device with a laptop (not included) is more than just reality.

We used the kit for a couple of weeks, and really did begin to see the benefits of hands free PC control. Drinking is not suggested, as the jumping up and down and "Okey-Cokey" style movements can cause spillage, but certainly a minor level of waving through a window can be achieved with only two or three days practice.

A full review will appear when BioKey get their act together, but we award a preliminary score of 2 out of 2.4.

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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