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Vocal control system developed for the shop floor

VLH Controls Inc. (, a relatively new company that develops computer-based vocal recognition systems, introduced a wireless system designed for use in metal fabrication and other factory operations.

The company says its Active Listening Voice Command System can be used to replace manual and foot actuated controls on machines, relieving repetitive stress and similar health problems.

The company says the system has been tested on factory ventilation equipment, automated welding systems, and metal shears in single-machine and work-cell configurations.

The systems works through a wireless headset that is worn by an operator, and that actuates a control unit connected to a machine. It uses simple, operationspecific commands that the company says are designed to be appropriate for a given task or for a set of tasks. The systems are integrated with existing safety equipment and guards, and the company says they work well in a high-noise environment.

Finally, the company says its vocal recognition system can be phased in as workers are trained on it. Existing controls can continue to be used while the vocal recognition system is being put into place.

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