Assistive Tech for Hands-Free Audio Editing

As you might imagine, using assistive tech to edit audio is a bit trickier than using it for general computer use. But Dragon, the Smartnav, and the Omnipedal Quad still work wonders.

Photo by Bryna Godar

Photo by Bryna Godar


Editing audio with Dragon:

Editing audio with voice recognition still feels like magic.

Dragon is not automatically compatible with any Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs). However, any DAW keyboard shortcut can be transformed into a voice command if you teach Dragon to recognize that command.

For example, I programmed Dragon so that I can just say "marker" and Adobe Audition inserts a marker – exactly the same as it does if I press “m” (the "marker" keyboard shortcut) with my finger.

I've programmed more than 150 voice recognition commands for Audacity. Combined with the head mouse and foot pedals, I can do almost all audio editing totally hands-free in Audacity. Now I'm programming Dragon to work with Adobe Audition.

If you don't have any programming experience, don't be intimidated by the word "programming!" It's way less complicated to program Dragon than you would think.


Editing audio with the smartnav:

The Smartnav takes the place of a hand mouse and allows you to move the mouse cursor with small motions of your head.

When audio editing, you can use the Smartnav to do anything you would use a mouse for – like moving the cursor to select a menu item, moving the playhead to a particular point in the track, dragging the cursor to select a cut, dragging an audio file into a track, etc.

Photo by Bryna Godar

Photo by Bryna Godar

Photo by Bryna Godar

Photo by Bryna Godar

Editing Audio with the Omnipedal Quad:

I use foot pedals to scroll left and right in the tracks, play and stop audio, and mouse left-click. My feet have a fast reflex time, so I can stop the audio quickly at the exact point I need. They're also ideal for precisely moving the playhead left and right in the tracks.

The foot pedals are designed to be highly customizable. I could be doing so much more with them! You can program each of the 4 pedals with 3 different custom commands. Different commands execute depending how long you hold down each pedal. And you can switch between multiple customized foot pedal configurations.


Bonus tech:

Knowbrainer Professional 2017

Knowbrainer is software that expands Dragon's capabilities. If I want a voice recognition command to execute extremely fast, I program the command in Knowbrainer. This is especially important for some audio editing commands that require almost instantaneous execution to stop at or mark an exact time in the track.

If you can't physically use or can't afford to buy foot pedals or a head mouse, you should definitely install Knowbrainer for general computer use. The software is a game changer if you rely on voice recognition for mouse movement and clicking.

Why? If you say "show numbers," Knowbrainer will assign a number to every clickable item on the screen. Just say the number of the item you want to click, and Knowbrainer will click it for you.

Knowbrainer picture.png