Robot‐by‐voice: experiments on commanding an industrial robot using the human voice

J. Norberto Pires (Mechanical Engineering Department and Mechanical Engineering Research Center (A Research Center from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology), University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal)

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Publication date: 1 December 2005



This paper reports a few results of an ongoing research project that aims to explore ways to command an industrial robot using the human voice. This feature can be interesting with several industrial, laboratory and clean‐room applications, where a close cooperation between robots and humans is desirable.


A demonstration is presented using two industrial robots and a personal computer (PC) equipped with a sound board and a headset microphone. The demonstration was coded using the Microsoft Visual Basic and C#.NET 2003 and associated with two simple robot applications: one capable of picking‐and‐placing objects and going to predefined positions, and the other capable of performing a simple linear weld on a work‐piece. The speech recognition grammar is specified using the grammar builder from the Microsoft Speech SDK 5.1. The paper also introduces the concepts of text‐to‐speech translation and voice recognition, and shows how these features can be used with applications built using the Microsoft.NET framework.


Two simple examples designed to operate with a state‐of‐the‐art industrial robot manipulator are then built to demonstrate the applicability to laboratory and industrial applications. The paper is very detailed in showing implementation aspects enabling the reader to explore immediately from the presented concepts and tools. Namely, the connection between the PC and the robot is explained in detail since it was built using a RPC socket mechanism completely developed from the scratch.

Practical implications

Finally, the paper discusses application to industrial cases where close cooperation between humans and robots is necessary.


The presented code and examples, along with the fairly interesting and reliable results, indicate clearly that the technology is suitable for industrial utilization.



Norberto Pires, J. (2005), "Robot‐by‐voice: experiments on commanding an industrial robot using the human voice", Industrial Robot, Vol. 32 No. 6, pp. 505-511.

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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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