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Vocal Joystick for Surfing the Web

Researchers at the University of Washington have created a vocal joystick for surfing the web. It uses vowel sounds to navigate the mouse. It uses the "K" sound and the "CH" sound to click and to click and drag.

Here's a video to the vocal joystick with a demonstration.

I'm having increasing difficulty navigating using my mouse. Because of this I'm intrigued, but not sold. I've been reading a little bit about brain-interface computers that literally use your thought processes to navigate a computer environment. This seems to be a much more effective way, especially with the increased likelihood that we will be in a three-dimensional computerized environment in the future.

Until that happens, however this could be a good intermediate step.

My biggest concern is that, aside from disabled users, there are many applications. My experience is that whenever a technology is only applicable to the disabled, the price tag is extremely high and the technology advances extremely slowly.

Voice recognition has been around since the early 90s, but the technology didn't advance until recently when it could be used to navigate telephone menus, for hands-free dialing, and soon you'll be able to order your McDonald's takeout without the expense of a 15-year-old.

There's much more potential for brain-interface navigation in the mass market. Imagine being able to navigate a map projected onto your windshield while driving your car, without ever taking your eyes off the road. He would simply think about where you wanted to go and a map would adjust to place directions directly in front of your eyes. Better yet, imagine driving your car simply by thinking about the controls rather than being required to use your hands.

Check out the video, and let me know what you think.

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