"According to The Seattle Times, an interdisciplinary team of scientists of the University of Washington (UW) has developed Vocal Joystick, a software which enables people with disabilities to control their computers using the sound of their voice and without the need to use a mouse. Their virtual computer mouse driven by sound has already been tested at the UW Medical Center with spinal-cord-injury patients and other participants with varying levels of disabilities. The researchers, who developed their own voice-recognition technology, hope to have a prototype available online this fall.
You can see (below) "the mapping of the vowel sounds recognized by the Vocal Joystick engine to the radial direction resulting in a mouse pointer movement. The VJ engine also captures loudness and pitch information, which can be used to control the speed of the pointer movement." (Credit: UW) Here is a link to a larger version of this diagram.
... So how does this software work? Here are some short excerpts from The Seattle Times mentioned in the introduction. "There are several options for people who need accommodations in using computers, but the UW software is distinguished on several levels. For one, it doesn't use standard voice-recognition technology. Instead, it detects basic sounds at about 100 times a second and harnesses them to generate fluid, adaptive cursor movement. Vocal-joystick researchers maintain the system is easier to use because it allows users to exploit a large set of sounds for both continuous and discrete movement and to make visual adjustments on the fly. Kurt L. Johnson, a professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the UW, says he believes the software has great potential because it is easy to both learn and use." (Continued via Roland Piquepaille's "Technology Trends) [Usability Resources]