I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand using the touch pad on my laptop. One time I forgot my mouse, and I had to use it. I almost went crazy that day. The problem with using a traditional mouse is that we’ve been told that continued use will lead to repeated wrist syndrome.
Fortunately, people at the University of Washington (Go Huskies!) are developing a vocally controlled mouse, or a vocal joystick. It is designed for people with disabilities, and I’ve included a You Tube video demonstrating it for a patient with a spinal disorder, available after the jump.
So how does one operate the vocally controlled mouse? Saying “ahh” will cause the cursor to zip to the northeast corner of the computer screen, and saying “ohh” sends it to the southeast corner. For specific directions, other vowel sounds are needed.
It turns out the vocally controlled mouse has a very simple setup. It is software connected to a microphone that can recognize the vowel sounds needed for motion. The UW developers are also working on using this voice recognition technology on robotic arms.
No word if this technology will be developed for the casual computer user, whether handicapped or non-handicapped, but you can’t deny that this could change a lot of things.