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Ergonomic Gear For A Better Life

Why Stop at Hands?

Another Kinesis design we got to try out is the Savant Elite triple foot switch ($149). In many applications, there are repetitive keystroke sequences that take your fingers away from the main keyset. Programmers may have commands that need to appear repeatedly at the start of each code line. Gamers might have instructions for weapons switching or reloading. Personally, I record interviews with an Olympus digital recorder, then transcribe the interviews with Olympus’ DSS Player application. To start playback, I have to press CTRL + ALT + F12. Rewind is CTLR + ALT + F9. So every few seconds, I have to take my hands away from typing and do these crazy key combinations.

With the Kinesis foot switch, you can program any sequence of keystrokes to execute with the press or release of a foot pedal. So for me, pressing the center pedal starts playback and releasing stops it. The right pedal rewinds and the left fast forwards. Olympus makes (or at least used to make) a foot pedal for this application, but they’re hard to find now and apparently don’t work on my system under Windows 7. Because the Kinesis product uses standard Windows drivers backed by instructions written to the product itself, it works perfectly—and the pedals are wide enough that I no longer have to take my shoe off to operate it.

The only catch is that, today, the pedals have to be programmed with a utility under either Windows 2000 or XP. (Of course, you can do this under Windows 7 with XP Mode.) For $10, Kinesis techs will do this programming for you based on the keystroke commands you provide before shipping you the product.

The beauty of Kinesis products is that not only do they improve your health, they also improve your efficiency and performance. There’s no question that my transcription goes much faster with the Elite Savent because I never actually have to stop typing. Do you have applications that might similarly benefit? If you can take the time to adapt Kinesis products to your needs, and vice versa, you won’t regret it.

William Van Winkle is a freelance editor and tech journalist who has been writing for more than 20 years. His work has appeared on Tom's Guide, Tom's Hardware, Tom's IT Pro, AMD, Seagate, Computer Shopper, and more. He is also an author, writing poetry, short stories, and science fiction and fantasy books.