A thumbpad input device that enables a user to generate direction and speed by manipulating a round elastic pad. The underside of the pad is lined with a set of uniformly spaced contacts positioned in a circular pattern. Each contact is paired with a corresponding switch that is coupled to a circuit board. When a user presses down on the pad, one or more contacts close their respective switches. The pad contacts and switches are designed so that the number of closed switches varies with the magnitude of the force applied to the pad. The thumbpad input device has a micro controller that monitors the switches. It determines the most clockwise closed switch and the most counter-clockwise closed switch. Presumptively, these two closed switches define the two endpoints of an arc of all closed switches. These endpoints are then forwarded to a host processor. The host processor processes these endpoints to calculate the direction and speed of the symbol which correspond with the user's manipulation of the rubber pad.