By Evan Ackerman
I know you’re lazy, but this mouse software under development at the University of Washington, which uses audio cues to move the cursor around, is not really for you. It’s designed for people with disabilities who, just like everybody else, need a reliable way of checking their Facebook every seven seconds. The “Vocal Joystick” software is fairly straightforward, requires nothing more than the software and a microphone, and works thusly:
Say “ahh” and the cursor zips toward the northeast corner of the computer screen. “Ooo” sends it shooting straight south. Want it to head southeast? Say “ohh.” To make the cursor do a circle or figure 8, let vowel sounds bleed into one another, like eee into ahh into aww and so on. You can make it hurry or slow by regulating the volume of your voice. To open a link, make a soft clicking sound.
Researchers say it’s a little tricky to get the hang of, but it’s much, much simpler than some other existing mouse substitutes like eye or head trackers. Preliminary testing suggests that an experienced vocal joystick user would have just as much control as someone using a traditional mouse. It’s not just restricted to mice, either: the same interface has been successfully used to control a robot arm. Head on over to BotJunkie for some extra footage of that, it’s pretty cool.