Introducing the Hummer
The vocal cord vibration switch, also known as the “Hummer,” is an access technology that converts vocal cord vibrations into binary control signals for augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), environmental control, and computer access. This novel device— currently used by dozens of children with severe disabilities and complex access needs—is well suited for individuals who are unable to form words but can still produce vocalizations.
The versatile Hummer easily adapts to many environments. Unlike regular voice-based switches, it works well in loud environments such as classrooms as it is not sensitive to surrounding noise and only responds to the user’s vocalizations. Additionally, since the Hummer detects a full range of periodic vocal cord vibrations from soft to loud, it requires less effort than a microphone-based switch.