"You use your feet all the time in life, to control really complex things," explains Stephane Rivard. "You drive a car with your feet, why not play video games with your feet?"
Why not indeed.
Stephane Rivard is the CEO of a company called Stelulu and the product he's trying to sell me is called the Stinky Footboard. Good start, I think to myself. Why the hell would I buy something with the word 'stinky' in it I wonder.
But Stephane's reasoning is pretty hard to argue with. Feet are stinky. And the Stinky Board is all about using your feet to play video games.
In the demo Stephane shows us people are playing Battlefield 3 and four different functions are mapped the Stinky Board. If you lean your foot forward onto the balls of your feet, you sprint. If you rock back onto your heel, you go prone. Simple stuff like that. The idea of the Stinky Board is to keep things relatively basic. It's not like the Wii balance board — it's not intended to have games designed from the ground up. It's there to augment your experience, to make certain things easier. Games are getting more complicated, argues Stephane. Why not make use of the other two limbs you have at your disposal?
It's a decent argument, but you get the impression some might need some convincing. Gamers have spent decades building their motor systems to the point where everything is controlled by your two hands. We're super dexterous in this realm. Starting from scratch, adding feet? It would take time to relearn these movements physically.
But Stephane is hoping the Stinky Board may end up being used for something other than games. Some folks in the company use it as an Alt-Tab machine, others use it to make music, by mapping specific sample to each of the directions available.
"When they first invented the mouse," says Stephane, "no-one had any idea how it would be used."
When Stephane organised the patent for the Stinky Board, people were amazed no-one had a patent for such a device yet. It was such an obvious piece of kit to design and build.
But will anyone buy it? Or use it?
That remains to be seen. I don't expect the Stinky Box to become as ubiquitous as the mouse or even the Wii Fitness Board, but it could be useful to a select group of people for a specific group of reasons. I think that's possible. But the Stinky Board? I still think they should change the name!