Show Details

Vocal Joystick

October 29, 2007

A new computer program allows users to operate a mouse using just the sound of their voice.


A hands-free computer mouse. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

For many, the internet is just a mouse click away. But if you don’t have the use of your hands and arms, accessing the web or even operating a computer isn’t a simple matter. But now computer scientists have developed a software program that allows motor-impaired users to rapidly control a mouse with just the sound of their voice.

JEFF BILMES (University of Washington):
Let’s say that you’re trying to control a mouse pointer and you want to move up. So what you would do is you would say "aaa", you would just say the vowel "aaa" and it would move up. And if you say "ooh" it would move the mouse pointer down. And if you say "eee" it would move to the left and if you say "aaah" it would move to the right.

That’s Jeff Bilmes of the University of Washington, who led the team that developed the software, called Vocal Joystick. He says it will complement vocal recognition software much like a mouse complements a keyboard. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.