Toe-ing The Line: Stinky Footboard Is Funded, A Thing

By Nathan Grayson on May 4th, 2013 at 11:00 am.

As PC gamers, we have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to control options. Even the basic mouse-and-keyboard setup makes controllers look like sticks with M&Ms glued on. And touch screens? Easily smudged windows into tiny worlds where no one listens to us. But we only have so many fingers, and growing more arms is hard. The, er, surprisingly viable answer? A foot controller named for the odor it will no doubt give off unless you use scented soap bars as arch supports. Yes, the Stinky Footboard is most certainly a thing, and a fully Kickstarted one at that.

But what purpose does it serve? And how? Here’s how creator SteLuLu Technologies describes it:

“The Stinky Footboard features four programmable buttons, adjustable tension boxes (TBOX) and a unique ‘cross’ shape that allows for unparalleled customization. Forwards, backwards, one foot or two, this bad boy demands to be used every which way, and it’s not simply about adding more buttons to click. It’s about evolving the way you play – giving you that crucial split second advantage against players still using just a mouse and keyboard. It’s simply a better gaming experience.”

“We use the best keyboards and the best mice, but we wanted more! We wanted more focus, better execution, we wanted more APM’s, and more control over the action without sacrificing gameplay!”

Assuming it works well, it’ll certainly be interesting to see how APM and technique-heavy communities adopt it. Obviously, SteLuLu thinks it’s got a revolution on its your hands feet, but I could also see longtime high-level players shun it as cheating or a not-so-handicapped friendly handicap.

That said, nearly 500 people backed it (at an average of $166, no less), so clearly somebody wants a Stinky board in their gamespace. Me, I’m pretty happy with my calloused arm tendrils for now, but who knows? More options are never a bad thing. Could you see yourself using one of these? What about if it cleaned itself, or you didn’t have a nose?

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63 Comments »

  1. Text_Fish says:

    It seems like it’s really noisy. In a bad way.

  2. Anthile says:

    I do have a USB cup warmer and I still wait for the day somebody hacks one of those things so you can control games with a cup of tea, preferably British ones.

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      Careful, you might cause all the molecules in the hostess’s undergarments to leap simultaneously one foot to the left, in accordance to the theory of indeterminacy.

      • pandiculator says:

        I daresay, good sir, that most of us don’t get invited to those sorts of parties.

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  3. Liudeius says:

    “giving you that crucial split second advantage against players still using just a mouse and keyboard.”

    Considering your reaction time with your hands is already faster than your feet, and the necessary increase in coordination to use both your hands and feet to control a game, I’m thinking that would’t be of any use for… Anything?
    You would have to be a pro-level gamer and be playing an RTS for four extra buttons to matter, and if you were a pro-level gamer, I highly doubt your APM would increase thanks to it beyond potentially functioning as a shift-key combination (But mice already can have shift buttons, so it’s not needed).
    Though I admit I know nothing about pro-gaming. If I’m wrong, please enlighten me.

    • Bent Wooden Spoon says:

      Do you have some kind of neurological issue? I do, and I largely agree with most of what you’ve said, but despite being far from a paragon of grace and fluidity I still seem to manage to co-ordinate my hand and feet movements without much issue; I do it every day and I hardly ever fall over.

      • Obc says:

        try to play the drums. its much more difficult to play it fast and with the right timing WHILE you are still tryting to do the same with your hands. not that its impossible but it will need quite a lot of learning.

        • Mr. Mister says:

          As the skilled drummer I am, I guess I may have quite the advantage with this.

        • Bent Wooden Spoon says:

          I have, it’s bloody difficult. This is hardly playing the drums though. I do play guitar and I can’t say I’ve ever had much difficulty operating my Cry Baby, which this seems to be more analogous with. Despite all the ‘unparalleled customisation’, I think it’s more likely something like this would be set up to do fairly simple things like lobbing a grenade and/or sprinting in an FPS (no way I’d buy something like this at the price, or probably ever, but I’d rather keep my foot depressed than have all that strain on my pinky from holding down ‘Shift’). It’s no more difficult than braking and changing gear at the same time when driving.

        • The white guar says:

          It can’t be much more difficult than driving a car, surely.

          Edit: ninja’d. Shame on me :D

          • Bent Wooden Spoon says:

            I’m so glad I avoided the temptation to fart out another sentence. :)

          • Liudeius says:

            Firstly, we aren’t talking about driving a car, we’re talking about trying to save fractions of a second at the rate of 5 actions per second. (Unless you smash your foot across the break, gas, and clutch at absurd speed, driving a car is NOT a reasonable comparison.)

            Secondly, there actually is a type of car (hy-wire) designed with the break and gas controlled by the hands because using hands increases reflex speed.

        • Feferuco says:

          Playing the drums is different though. It is more like, try to randomly tap your foot while playing a game, it isn’t hard I think.

      • Liudeius says:

        Try throwing in perfectly timed shift-key actions with your feet in the middle of a sequence of other actions. I didn’t say it was impossible, I said it was more difficult, lessening the efficacy.

        They’re talking about trying to save fractions of a second. According to Wikipedia, pro Koreans are about 300 APM, so you need to integrate hand and foot movement at a rate of 5 per second.
        At that speed, even using two hands in sync can’t be easy. I know even just typing I not too rarely press a key with my right hand before the left hand key which was supposed to precede it (resulting in “tyep” rather than “type”).

        • Bent Wooden Spoon says:

          I think you’re getting a bit too swallowed up in their marketing bollocks rather than considering the practical applications it’ll most likely be used for. Of course they’re banging on about split-pico-second advantages, they’re making a gaming peripheral and spewing that kind of guff goes with the territory.

          As I hinted above, I can see the benefit of having one of these to save finger stretches holding down/hitting certain keys; I hate holding down shift for long sprints in PS2, but I also hate having it set to toggle. I wouldn’t buy one because I’m busy slowly killing my back by gaming in a recliner and it seems like a bit of pointless frippery, but that doesn’t mean it’s somehow inherently hard to use.

          And if I can borrow the drum analogy for a minute, that’s not easy and yet people manage to learn. Given how devoted some people are to the art of furious clicking, I have no difficulty imagining some folk managing to use this in some highly convoluted ways.

          • Liudeius says:

            “giving you that crucial split second advantage against players still using just a mouse and keyboard.”

            But that’s not what I’m commenting on.

            As a common periphrial, sure, it would work, I didn’t say it was “hard” to use, it’s just harder than the alternative (when looking at fractions of a second). Personally even if I were given one for free, I don’t think I would use it much. Most games work fine without having to stretch your fingers at odd angles with a little remapping.

            I’ll admit a few more hotkeys accessible without moving my hand might be nice, but as I said, there are mice for that. I’ll buy a mouse with a shift function first.

          • Bent Wooden Spoon says:

            Apologies, not sure what it is you aren’t commenting on – I was referring to the quote you highlighted, and it’s just meaningless PR fluff that should be completely ignored. What will ultimately sell something like this is what the majority use it for, not spurious claims parped out by a marketing department. I agree with you it’s complete nonsense that most people will find themselves gaining a ‘crucial advantage’, and I’m in complete agreement with everything else you’ve just said.

            But I was initially replying to this:

            “Considering your reaction time with your hands is already faster than your feet, and the necessary increase in coordination to use both your hands and feet to control a game, I’m thinking that would’t be of any use for… Anything?”

            This is what I was replying to, and it’s untrue. I’ve already given two examples. They’re hardly ground-breaking, sure as hell not worth the asking price, and not going to make you a ‘Pro-Gamer’ or improve your reaction times, but they’re still things I can see it being used for quite easily, even if it’s not for me. And as mentioned above, given what drummers are capable of I can see some people being able to pull of some surprisingly impressive stuff with this if they put the time in. Which very few people will.

    • Mctittles says:

      With practice, foot reaction times can be pretty high. Also hand reaction is not faster than feet (unless you are talking about no brain use reflex).

      For normal actions the brain waits until all “sensors” have arrived so even though your hands are closer it still has to wait for your feet so you can tell for instance if something touched your foot AND hand at the same time.

      On a related note shorter people have faster reaction times because of distance traveled for nerves and stuff :)

  4. Jockie says:

    I don’t think I’d be able to use one of these, my default gaming pose is slouched back in my chair, keyboard hanging precariously off my desk, propped up by a knee, with legs flung across any piece of furniture foolish enough to rest nearby. This would require that I sit up straight, even when I do that my elongated lower limbs tend to cross themselves.

    Plus the name is horrible (I hate the word ‘stink’ it’s too good at its job, too evocative).

  5. ninjapirate says:

    I was looking for something like this a few weeks ago (as an aiding peripheral for a handicapped child), and came across the “MaKey MaKey”, which, according to their website can “Turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet.”
    It’s not the same thing as this Stinky Footboard, but I’m guessing that its functions (and many more) can be replicated with some inventiveness.

    Here’s a link to the MaKey MaKey Youtube video:

  6. Nathan_G says:

    I could definitely see myself using this, but probably not so much for games.. As an extra control surface for modifiers and shortcuts it’d actually be really useful for editing audio in Logic/Reaper/Protools etc. Unity and 3D modeling software too probably.

    That said, the name is fucking terrible, and it does seem pretty noisy.

    • Arglebargle says:

      Audio editing seems like a good spot for this. I’ve worked with a film editor who used an n52 controller extensively for his film work. I have a lot of pedals already, but this may be cost competitive to alternatives in the genres.

      I imagine they used the toughest springs with greatest noise to emphasize that something was indeed going on. Otherwise you’re just looking at a guy’s foot on a board.

  7. Entitled says:

    It could be useful for VR, especially if it ends up entirely replacing controllers with Leap motion-style hand tracking..

  8. Godwhacker says:

    It takes a very special kind of prick to want something that will let them say “I’m just going to plug in my Stinky”

  9. LTK says:

    I guess it would be useful as a foot-controlled analog stick. For first-person games it would make sense to control your movement with your feet should you so desire. Aside from that, I can’t think of anything that wouldn’t be easier to accomplish with a few extra buttons on the mouse.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      You can add buttons to a mouse, but not fingers to your hand. This thing can help when you have a lot of modifiers (like shift or alt, etc). It’s rare but some games have you holding multiple modifiers at a time, while you’re moving the character and also using an attack (or whatever is being modified).

  10. staberas says:

    so people bought a foot controller that i can built for a fraction of the same money ?

    i dont want to live on this planet anymore…

    • Low Life says:

      Why not? Sounds like you should have a wealthy future ahead of you.

    • Gwilym says:

      Pretty much any controller can be built for a fraction of the price.

    • Feferuco says:

      I suppose a racing pedal + xpadder can do the job. Plus you get a racing pedal too.

    • Conquerbeard says:

      Would you like to pick up your award for Snarkiest Comment of the Week in person or would you prefer that we ship it to you?

  11. Rumpel says:

    it could be pretty helpful for those wow-like mmos with 12+ keys, but the noise would irritate me (i dont even like keyboard clicking, which is why i prefer those flat laptop-style ones, like logitechs dinovo edge). the fact that a littlebit of rubber could fix that problem suggests very low production value.
    plus, you could only really use 3 of those 4 keys with just ankle-movement unless you’re wearing shoes while gaming. who does that?

  12. Obc says:

    DDR on my PC?

  13. TechnoJellyfish says:

    I could see some use for a device like this when using a gamepad, especially in multiplayer games; things like PTT functionality in VoIP applications, taking screenshots, switching overlays and stuff like that. But I can’t see myself spending a terrible amount of money on such a thing and most certainly not when it is so terribly named.

  14. matrixdll says:

    Clearly that has been designed for future race of orangutan people… from space

  15. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    I wonder who the genius was who came up with the name for that product.

  16. wearedevo says:

    Are any of these people aware of the Razer Naga and similar? It puts 12 extra buttons on your mouse, without the need of an entire separate peripheral for your feet….

    • Tams80 says:

      Buttons 10-12 on the Naga and similar mice are awkward to hit.

  17. Tams80 says:

    It makes sense, as unless you have a good flight/racing/mech sim set up, your feet aren’t doing anything useful. The little extra exercise you get should be good as well.

    Now if only someone could create a gamepad with a decent analogue stick for movement. More support for the Razer Hydra would be nice as well.

  18. Koozer says:

    Singer need to buy this up and start their ventures into PC gaming.

    • PoLLeNSKi says:

      Having a quilting addicted mother, I might be one of the few geeks to actually get this :)

  19. emptyhaven says:

    I remember a time when controllers had a d-pad and two buttons and that was all you needed to save a kingdom from destruction

  20. OwMyKnee says:

    Don’t… don’t… don’t… nononononono… What is next? The joystick?

  21. Hodge says:

    Does this mean we’ll be bringing back Guru Meditations as well?

  22. sinister agent says:

    I rather suspect that the bulk of customers/backers for this would be those who have some physical difficulty in using their hands for finely controlled things like games. People with injuries, certain neurological problems, arthritis, etc.

  23. TsunamiWombat says:

    I’m heavy and I tend to exert a lot of pressure with my feet. I’d be afraid of breaking the damn thing.

    • Xennlander says:

      If you’d bothered watching the promotional video, or reading the FAQ on the site, you’d know that they’re demonstrating the build quality of these things by driving cars over them. Somehow I’m guessing you’re not that heavy.

  24. The Random One says:

    Looks to be very useful for people with physical disabilities and completely bloody useless for everyone else.

    If you’re that eager to control a game with your feet couldn’t you just use the pedals of a wheel controller and Joy2Key?

    (Still less dumb than binding crouch to Shift, though.)

  25. P.Funk says:

    I’ll stick with my rudder pedals, thank you very much.

  26. ApeX916 says:

    Hi everyone, Luc here from Stelulu. I’ll do my best to cover the topics. We appreciate all comments,good and bad.

    The footboard is meant to simplify your gameplay.

    One of the many advantages of the board is to help you stay in control of character movement as much as possible. WASD or RDFG don’t allow you to perform certain simultaneous movements and actions. Try to strafe right (D) and press R, F, C, V, not an easy task. Gamers are forced to sacrifice between movement and actions. I love the board for sprinting and crouching in Battlefield 3, I also use it a lot in World of Warcraft for instant casts or instant actions while moving.

    Yes there are many mice out there with 12+ thumb buttons, great idea on paper but very hard to use accurately. I like my 2 thumb button Logitech G5.

    The noise of the board is greatly exaggerated for the video. If you stomp on it, it will make noise ;)

    You can rest your foot on the board at all times. You won’t have to hover your foot over a pedal or lose a pedal under you desk.

    We had over 300 gamers try the board at PAX East and most got used to it within 5 minutes. People were surprised at how easy it was to get used to. (not a sales pitch)

    The name Stinky is hit or miss for some. It does get people talking that’s for sure.

    Trying to keep this short. If you have other questions I’m happy to answer them.