A Sound-based Joystick

The Vocal Joystick doesn’t rely primarily on speech recognition i.e. “move left” but rather continuous sounds to interact with computerized systems

The goal of this project is to develop a novel system that we call the Vocal Joystick (VJ). This device will enable individuals with motor impairments to use vocal parameters to control objects on a computer screen (buttons, sliders, etc.) and ultimately electro-mechanical instruments (e.g., robotic arms, wireless home automation devices).

The Vocal Joystick Homepage

There are some compelling videos on the site. I found it via a 60 Second Science podcast series produced by Scientific American. This series is an excellent and efficient way to expand one’s awareness of science regardless of your background – highly recommended.



  1. Khepera said

    This development is very significant, and brings into play a whole host of conversations/questions @ the nature of language, the dynamics of voice — texture, tonality/pitch, range, speech vs singing, etc. — not to mention the sonic parameters, and their discernment by the machine. If you cough or sneeze in the middle of a delicate move, then…? Like the verbal transcription systems, it seems as though the greatest challenge may be the learning cycle/interface btw user & machine. In any case, it’s a powerful and useful tool to add to the array of choices. Ahhh, the power of the Word…..

  2. Bettoman said

    The multi-dimensional potential is obvious here. This is also a recognition of what the oral-based cultures have known and practiced for eons. Jazz is the template they are seeking. We will soon meet at the crossroads.

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