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To Answer Smart Phone with Your Hands Full? Try Your Foot Instead

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Core Tip:Ever tried to answer a smart phone with your hands full? Try your foot instead. Kick Soul is an insole that you can slip inside shoes to control digital devices with a flick of your foot.

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Ever tried to answer a smart phone with your hands full? Try your foot instead. Kick Soul is an insole that you can slip inside shoes to control digital devices with a flick of your foot.

Xavier Benavides and his team at the MIT Media Lab sewed a gyroscope and accelerometer between two layers of spongy insole. The system’s algorithm analyses the foot’s motion and transmits the information via Bluetooth to your phone.

It recognizes two foot movements: pushing an imaginary object away with your foot, and pulling one closer to you. With just two foot motions, you can scroll, zoom in and out on a map, accept or reject a phone call, save a file or delete it. The idea is that the smart phone’s Bluetooth detects which compatible smart devices are nearby and works out which ones the user wants to operate. The algorithm can differentiate between fidgeting or walking and intentional movements.

Ten people tested the insoles and said they were comfortable and unobtrusive. The idea was presented at a user interface conference in North Carolina earlier this month. Benavides thinks the system is perfect for answering calls or turning on lights when laden with groceries, for example. “It’s very useful because our feet are almost always free,” he says.
 

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