Nintendo keeps cooking up innovative new control schemes for its Nintendo Wii console. And if the Wii controller was any indication, you can expect musicians, DJs, and artists will be taking up this latest controller shortly after it’s available. The Wii Fit controller is a force-sensing panel the player stands on; it’s used to measure weight and balance. “Ah, just what I need during a workout,” you say, “an always-on scale to demoralize me.” Amazingly, though, this simple controller is used for some pretty impressive controls, from balance for yoga to leaning weight in one direction or another.
Foot-based controllers are a wonderful thing for music, because we usually greatly overburden our hands with tasks — play guitars and keyboards, twist knobs, run faders, etc. It’s not hard to imagine the Wii Fit board as an expression controller, in place of a pedal. And it shouldn’t be hard to get data out of it, either, since it looks like it also uses Bluetooth, just as the Wii controller does. (Musicians and DJs, among others, have happily employed the Wii remote in creative applications for Mac, Linux, and Windows.)
While we wait, though, I’d like to ask another question: does anyone know of creative uses of foot controllers for music over the years? Most of what the Wii remote does had been done previously in various forms by music researchers, composers, and inventors, up to a couple of decades before Nintendo shipped their remote. That’s not to say Nintendo was ripping off their efforts; on the contrary, it suggests the design of controllers is more than just fad and will continue to evolve.
So — fabulous foot inventions? We’d love to hear them.