Having seen the Doctor seemingly need to use his hands to manipulate the sonic screwdriver, I was wondering if the Doctor could instead utilize it via just his mind or some other form of remote control to use the sonic instead. So he isn't so vulnerable if somehow denied the ability to use it manually. Or does he strictly have to use his hands to use the sonic?

3 Answers 3


It has a psychic interface, but there's been no seen cases of it being used while not in the user's hand.

In Let's Kill Hitler, The Doctor explains that the screwdriver operates by the user simply thinking of the function needed and pressing the button. This may be a new function, as there's been cases of The Doctor fiddling with the device to get it to perform certain functions - he tells Rose in The Doctor Dances that a particular numbered setting cuts and/or reconnects barbed wire, and in Robot, The Doctor attached something to the Sonic to make "a miniature sonic lance".


The sonic probably cannot be used hands-free.

In "Deep Breath", the Doctor and Clara are captured. The Doctor drops the sonic onto Clara's feet, and she has to carefully pass it up to his lap in order to operate it. He was probably unable to use it hands-free, or they would not have needed to do this.

  • I looked up that scene after that video ends and Clara then commented that the Doctor should install a voice-activated function into the sonic for precisely this sort of situation. The Doctor then makes an "I don't want to talk about it" face and Clara seems to realize that yes, the sonic does have such a function and the Doctor completely forgot about it. So yes, by the looks of it, the sonic does actually have a way for the user to use it hands-free after all. Nov 7, 2018 at 2:40
  • @Linwood: That was not the impression I got.
    – Kevin
    Nov 7, 2018 at 3:45
  • Well, Clara commented that had the sonic been voice-activated, it would have gotten them out of that jam, then says something to the effect of "It does have such a feature, doesn't it?". The Doctor awkwardly changes the subject, which suggests that it does have that feature and he forgot about it. His facial expression right when Clara says it pretty much implies what Clara suspected. The wiki (tardis.wikia.com/wiki/The_Doctor%27s_sonic_screwdriver) includes it among the sonic's features, which seems to suggest that several fans agreed that the sonic could be voice-activated. Nov 7, 2018 at 3:53
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    My interpretation was that the Doctor tried adding such a feature and it went so badly wrong that he's now unwilling to speak of it. That's the trouble with subjective interpretation questions. Also, Moffet didn't write the wiki.
    – Kevin
    Nov 7, 2018 at 15:22
  • However, the Doctor did not deny the existence of the feature when Clara seemed to "realize" that the sonic has such a thing. It seems that the most straightforward way to interpret the scene is that the Doctor simply forgot about it. Anything beyond that, like things going wrong or it being some sort of "noodle incident" seems to be reaching too much on too little evidence. Ergo, I feel that it's just too speculative. Considering the sonic's wide functionality, it seems more likely that it does have such a feature than it does not. Nov 8, 2018 at 3:37

It depends on which sonic screwdriver you are reffering too, because each sonic screwdriver is not completely the same with some screwdrivers functioning on different wavelengths as mentioned in "Dr Who Demons of the Punjab" the doctor had to find the correct wavelength for what she needed, so with some screwdrivers maybe the doctor could but maybe not.

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    Please provide specific citations, references, or links links to support your answer.
    – Misha R
    Nov 25, 2018 at 2:59
  • Really? I'm pretty sure that the sonic screwdrivers are all the same, just that the casing is different. Meaning to say that a version of the sonic should retain all the functions of the previous versions. That's not to say that new features can't be added later on though, as the sonic as a whole seems to have gotten more and more omni-functional as time went on. Jan 9, 2019 at 21:12

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