RSI Foot

Monday, 12 April 1999
Driving a car is unnecessary complex.
gearshift hands cardriver
clutch feet cardriver brake, accelerator
Shifting gears requires a two or even a three dimensional move. Sometimes backwards for higher gear, sometimes zigzag to right forward. For the fifth gear your might even have to go down a bit. To make things ever more complicated the gearshift is far from the steering wheel. Why so difficult?

The feet have some difficulty on their own. The driver's right foot must accelerate and brake. For a sudden emergency brake the foot must make a strange U turn. Up first, away from the accelerator, then to the left groping for the brake, then down again. It's asking for accidents, isn't it?

clutch hands motorbiker throttle, front brake
gear feet motorbiker rear brake
The feet of a motor biker have an easier job. Each foot moves in just one dimension, up or down. The left foot taps up for a higher gear, down for a lower one. Easy and natural. Tap twice to skip a gear. That simplicity is more than welcome, as feet are out of vision. All feet work is like fumbling in the dark, with shoes or thick boots as additional handicap.

The hands of a biker also move in just one dimension, forwards or backwards. The right hand operates the front brake. That seems contradictory with the throttle, but it isn't. A biker that reaches for the brake automatically closes the throttle in one and the same natural movement.

hands computer user yuiop
click feet computer user scroll
Does all this serve any purpose for a computer user? Well, have a look at your own feet. Wouldn't it be nice to scroll with the right one? And for a mouse click, a gentle tap with the left? Cute but avoid excessive usage. Beware of an RSI foot (web/!

Till next week!