I think @waytools makes EXACTLY the right point when they say:
“Requirements that seem irreconcilable are often the genesis of great invention”
Rephrased - if Steve Jobs had taken what was as his foundation for the iPhone, we’d not have had capacitive screens, a browser or maps on such a small device. People could EASILY have made correct sounding arguments that capacitive touch was too expensive, that a browser or maps make no sense on a device with such horrifically slow carrier based internet service (the original iPhone was edge ONLY!). What about battery life? From BlackBerry’s perspective, the iPhone had UNUSABLE battery life. It was nigh impossible to make it through a day without charging it many times.
But the device that emerged broke those rules and achieved greatness. All smartphones today have been influenced by those previously-thought-to-be irreconcilable requirements.
Something I think is extraordinary about this thread is that we are able to discuss something like a foot “clicking” mechanism without people shooting it down on the face of the idea itself.
I think it is instructive to ignore implementation sometimes. An example that comes to mind are AirPods. A lot of what makes them brilliant (in my opinion anyway) are things that are OBVIOUSLY impossible to solve with generally accepted technological solutions:
PITIFUL battery life. “A device that small would only last a few hours before it would go dead!”. For me, the battery life is stellar. I use my AirPods most days from 3am until about 7pm continuously. How? I put the left one in and when it beeps that it is getting low, I put the right one in and swap the left one out to the charging case. By the time the right one beeps that it is getting low, the left one is fully charged. I can sometimes go two days before needing to charge the charging case.
Automatically detect when the device is in the ear, pair it to the primary device and start playing audio. “They are pretty small to put a switch on to tell us they are going to be in the ear, and how do you make a switch that won’t hurt someone’s ear? Also, wouldn’t it be a pain to have to hit two switches, each on such tiny devices, to let them know they are each in an ear?” Well Apple decided to really think outside the box on this one - they have an infrared (or similar) sensor that detects when they are in the ear because of proximity. I don’t know exactly how it works, but these little TINY devices detect when they are in my ears EVERY SINGLE TIME.
Answering the phone. “Have you ever TRIED to hit the switch on existing bluetooth headsets?!? It is insanely hard…”. They just made it so a simple double tap will answer the phone or hang it up. It works 100% of the time, is super simple and convenient, and as far as I know, no one else had ever done that before.
So before we decide a foot “clicker” would never make the mainstream, realize that the implementation might be something so different from what we would first think of that it MIGHT be able to be mainstream. What if, instead of a physical thing sitting on the floor that we’d tap with our foot, it was instead something that, from our pants pocket, could identify the “gesture” of tapping the foot? I realize this particular implementation wouldn’t be perfect (what about a lady wearing a dress with no pockets, for example?), but the point I’m trying to make is that it is better to think of what might be good without thinking about how it would be implemented.
For my part, despite having had BAD carpal tunnel in my life (I’ve since had surgery), clicking a mouse button has never felt like a hardship. I don’t see a big issue with the clicking being done by a foot, but The benefit of it seems (to me at least) depend on the “mouse pointing” implementation. On a traditional mouse, I don’t think it makes it substantially harder to move with precision whether I am pressing a mouse button or not. On a trackpad where you have to physically press down to represent a click, yes, for me, it is more of a pain to keep it depressed while dragging, and certainly leads to faster fatigue. I think the index finger as a simple pointing/dragging indicator is immensely accurate for most people, especially after some period of time using it as such. I like the Apple implementation where I can now drag with the index finger and use a DIFFERENT finger to “tap” the “mouse button”, but I don’t know that this is something people are universally comfortable with.
I think I lean toward a “trackpad-like” implementation for the pointing aspects of using this proposed replacement mouse solution. The button clicking or gestures themselves though, I’m very open to new solution. I don’t know of one I’d propose right now though. The closest “best of breed” mouse device I’ve used thus far is the Magic Trackpad. It SUCKS for gaming though. For everything else, I find it to be spectacular. I’d NEVER call it portable though. Yes, I could put it into my pocket, but I’d never want to.