foot pedal : Computer Hardware Buyers’ Glossary
A foot pedal is invaluable for doing transcriptions of audio or video recordings by
letting your hands do nothing but the transcription typing. In contrast, mouse
controlled software takes your hands off the keyboard. Using the keyboard to control
the audio may confuse the editor program you are typing into. You use software such
as Transcription Buddy to monitor the foot pedal and
play the audio in a number of possible formats for you, and stop, start, rewind and
fast forward it for you.
It is amazing how fast transcription goes with the foot pedal.
- left foot pedal: tap to leap back.
- middle foot pedal: press and hold to play, release to stop.
- right pedal: tap to leap forward
Installation is as snap. You just plug the foot pedal into a free
USB (Universal Serial Bus) port.
What to Look For In A Foot Pedal
You want it so sit still in one place under your desk. It is hard
to find with your feet and you don’t want it sliding about. Ideally you
would glue it down in some way. I have not figured out how to glue a footpedal to
a carpet in a way that does not damage the carpet. Feet would probably help it
dig into a carpet.
You are going to be pounding this thing with your feet. It had
better stand up.
You want it big so it is easy to find the correct pedal. Feet,
especially covered in socks and/or shoes don’t have much tactile feedback.
Look at the design of piano or organ pedals. That is the ideal size and spacing.
You want to pick a vendor with a history of providing drivers
to keep old models going. Otherwise you may be stuck with perfectly functioning
hardware and no software to drive it. Ideally you should not need a
CD (Compact Disk) of any kind to
install the footpedal.
Make sure you get an unit with a
designed or use with a PC (Personal Computer) (or Mac).
Many are specialty units designed to work only with various dedicated dictation
Care and Feeding
My first introduction to foot pedals was not successful. The separate small
light foot pedals for the Kinesis keyboard would not stay put. I could not find them.
I am having much more success with the much heavier Olympus unit for transcription.
- You first need to install a low level foot pedal driver, then you install the
application software such as Transcription Buddy.
- After a while your foot pedal will become flaky. It will fail to notice your
taps sometimes. The problem is dust and carpet fluff clogging its insides. Open it
up and clean it out with a blast of compressed air. Clean any contacts, including
those in the footpad cable, with DeoxIT
- The cord is easy to catch with your feet. You want to cover it in some way. If
you have a cheap carpet acting as a carpet protector, you could consider cutting a
hole in it to keep the cord out of harm’s way and as a side effect anchor the
foot pedal. There are all sorts of cable
organisers, basically flattened tubes, intended for the purpose.