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Programmers urged to code with their tootsies

'Feets, don't fail me now!'

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You can now employ two woefully underutilized parts of your body to speed your PC workflow: your tootsies.

Keith McMillen Instruments of Berkeley, California, has released the SoftStep KeyWorx, a USB foot-operated input device that combines the company's SoftStep USB/MIDI foot controller – a musician's stomp-pad – with KeyWorx software to, as the company's marketing blurb explains, "Get your feet in the game".

But the SoftStep KeyWorx is not only designed to give "computer gamers a competitive edge." It can also, the company claims, put to use the pedal extremities of video editors, programmers, and "data entry professionals".

SoftStep KeyWorx

Connect the SoftStep USB pad to your Mac or PC, download KeyWorx, and tiptoe your way to productivity

"Use your feet to maximize your workflow and greatly improve your efficiency," the company says, by using the KeyWorx software to assign up to 100 sets of commands that can be accessed through the SoftStep's 10 back-lit control pads – each sensitive to taps and x/y-axis pressure – and four-way controller.

Before you think this toe-tapping input device is the brainchild of some fly-by-night outfit, know that Keith McMillen Instruments (KMI) also offers the StringPort hexaphonic-pickup interface and software suite for acoustic and electric guitars; Bluetooth-enabled K-Bow for violin, viola, cello, and bass; and Bat-o-Meter battery monitor for stomp bozes and the like.

No lesser lights than John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin, Jeffrey Zeigler of the Kronos Quartet, and well-traveled guitarist Joe Gore have extolled KMI's music products.

As might be guessed, KMI is also promoting SoftStep KeyWorx as an aid to the disabled – or, for that matter, Mac and Windows users who would prefer not to become disabled by repetitive-strain injury or carpal-tunnel syndrome.

Accordingly, you'll soon be able to find the $289.95 SoftStep KeyWorx not only on Amazon and at other retailers, but also from EnableMart and Disabled Online.

As Keith McMillen Instruments proudly claims: "SoftStep KeyWorx is the ultimate keyboard and mouse controller for your feet." Not that we don't see a possible value for this device, but one must question whether there's a horde of competitors seeking that accolade. ®

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