[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Stephen Hawking may have one of the most impressive minds in history, but he must rely on a communications platform in order to relay that genius.
Which is why Intel has been working with Hawking for three years on new technology to replace his two-decade-old system. The chip giant today demonstrated what it has come up with, which Intel said will “dramatically” improve Hawking’s ability to communicate with the world.
The Assistive Context Aware Toolkit (ACAT) integrates SwiftKey’s predictive-text software, meaning Hawking’s computer will learn to predict his next words, leaving him to “type” fewer than 20 percent of all characters.
Hawking suffers from MND, which is related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive condition that has worsened over the years, leaving him almost entirely paralyzed. He is famously able to communicate only through technology. But Hawking’s communication rate has recently fallen to a mere one word per minute. ACAT can double that, and improve common tasks like browsing and navigating the Web, emailing, opening new documents, and switching between tasks.
“Professor Hawking uniquely used technology to master communicating with the world for decades, but his old system could be likened to trying to use today’s modern apps and websites with a computer without a keyboard or mouse,” said Intel Vice President Wen-Hann Wang. “Together we’ve delivered a holistically better communication experience that contributes to his continued independence and can help open the door to increased independence for others.”
The technology will be available to research and technology communities by January, which “has the potential to improve the lives of disabled people around the world, and is leading the way in terms of human interaction and the ability to overcome communication boundaries that once stood in the way,” Hawking said.
Similar to the technology behind Samsung’s EyeCan “eye mouse,” Hawking “speaks” via a cheek sensor detected by an infrared switch mounted to his glasses.
During today’s Intel event in London, Labs worker Lama Nachman joined Hawking onstage to discuss the new toolkit.
“Technology for the disabled is often a proving ground for the technology of the future,” Nachman said. “From communications to genetic research, technology is beginning to open doors to possibilities that can only be imagined.”
“Medicine has not been able to cure me, so I rely on technology to help me communicate and live,” Hawking said. “Intel has been supporting me for almost 20 years, allowing me to do what I love every day.”
Thanks to PC Magazine for publishing this. To read their original article, please click here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_video ratio=”16-9″ link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXIG0sqQItA”][/vc_column][/vc_row]