STEP ON IT! Keyboard Control Pedals

Voice and Pedals

Avoid repetitive tongue-twisting commands
Switch between dictation, editing and command modes
"Oops pedal" instantly corrects dictation stumbles
Microphone On/Off
Hands-free control

The pedals could be used with voice recognition systems, such as

or others. Though the majority of the dictation systems can be operated by voice alone, such a control is sometimes tongue-twisting, and in most cases pedals add extra utility.

Some of the voice recognition systems users report being tired of repeating the same commands by voice (e.g., "Stop dictation!"-- "Begin dictation!"), over and over again; they prefer pushing the pedals to actuate those most frequently used functions.

One of the best application of STEP ON IT! Pedals with voice recognition systems is for switching between the text entry and command modes. Everybody, from designers to reviewers to end-users, agrees that one of the the biggest challenges a voice recognition system is facing is to let the computer distinguish between, say, "Save the whales" (part of the text document) and "Save fnm125.txt" (Windows command). Recently, dictation systems have made big advances on this front. Nevertheless, in many cases the pedals offer faster and more straightforward solution. STEP ON IT! Pedals may be configured to toggle between the two modes or associated windows. One may arrange for the following setup: if no pedal is pressed the voice goes into the edited document, but when a pedal is pressed the voice input is interpreted as a Windows command (like Save, Exit, etc.)

Another common function that can be well performed by the pedals is turning the microphone on and off.

A user with little or no hands functionality may elect to assign the left and right arrow keys to the pedals, to move the cursor while editing the text entered with a voice recognition system.

Another useful thing is the OOPS pedal: it deletes last word, if misrecognized by the dictation system.

Assigning the Tab key (or an equivalent voice macro) to a pedal will help one to move from field to field when filling out an electronic form wih voice. This sitauation is common with medical and dental examination reports.

Needless to say that all these goals can be achieved without hacking the voice recognition system. Instead, commands provided by the manufacturer shall be employed in a two-step approach:

  1. A voice (or a keyboard) macro is created to perform the desired command function;
  2. This macro is assigned to a pedal
Creating voice or keyboard macros for dictation systems does not require programming skills. It may be done by a creative end-user, as well as by a reseller or consultant who installs the dictation system. The complexity of the macro depends on the task and on the particular voice recognition product. In any event, as step 1 is done, the rest (step 2) is as easy as 1-2-3.

Several hundred pedal-related macros have been created by VoiceWare Systems. Their VoicePedals bring new capabilities and ease of use to dictation systems and speed up the operation.

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