One of the main problems in the modern work environment is that there is simply not enough time to get everything done. If only you had an extra pair of hands! So much more could be accomplished in the time available. Foot pedals could be your solution. They can fulfill some of the functions of the mouse or keyboard, freeing up your hands for other tasks, such as typing, using the phone or even just drinking coffee.
Foot pedals are particularly useful if you work with transcription software. The pedal is equipped with play, pause, fast-forward and rewind buttons, which are used to control the sound track, while the hands are left free to type up the transcription. This technology, available from companies such as Sylvansoft and NCH Software, is ideal for medical and legal transcribers as well as translators. They are also an excellent choice for people working in the music industry or who use music software a lot.
For more general use there is a mouse pedal, complete with a tracker pad and left and right mouse buttons. When your hands are busy at the keyboard you can use the mouse pedal instead of a regular mouse for everything from Word to games. Variations include shortcut and hotkey buttons, including shift, ctrl and alt. Rollers on the foot allow very natural scrolling, making multi-tasking that much easier. One model, produced by Bili inc, is on sale for $150, and boasts programmable shortcut buttons (up to 10), enabling you to access programs or functions through the pedal alone leaving your hands completely free.
Needless to say, a foot pedal is the perfect solution for anyone with hand problems, arthritis, or other motor disabilities. If, like many frequent computer users, you find your hands aching towards the end of the day, a foot pedal could greatly ease the strain for your overworked hands. Current software means that pedals can replace or complement the mouse and the keyboard, and if you link it to voice recognition software as well, a lot of people's problems could be solved.
For some, of course, an extra set of controls will be nothing but confusing and irritating. Computers already have a wealth of attachments, and one more could simply make working that much more complicated. While a foot pedal, like any other piece of computer hardware is merely a tool, it won't suit those who prefer to focus on one thing at a time.
Unfortunately there is no industry standard at the moment so you need to make sure that your foot pedal will be compatible with your operating system. You may even need to get additional software to get the most out of it. Foot pedals also come with a variety of plugs. Specific models may need special locations, but most fit into either the USB port, the keyboard slot or the stereo port. It is essential to check before you buy, as you need to make sure that there is room for your new favorite tool in your computer ports. Prices are in the $50 -$150 range.
Of course, you will need to balance the advantages with the time and money it will take to set up and get used to your new system. However if you work in the transcription field you will wonder how on earth you managed without one!