When Stephen Hawking has something to say about the mysteries of physics and the world in general, we listen. Unfortunately, his decades long battle with Lou Gehrig's disease continues and his ability to communicate deteriorates. That's why he's asked Intel to help come up with a solution.
Currently Hawking uses a proprietary system that relies upon cheek twitches and a sensor on his eyeglasses to spell out words that are eventually translated to his well-recognized computerized voice synthesizer.
While it has done the job so far, his weakening condition causes the system to become more and more inefficient. He spells out words one letter at a time and now he's averaging an input of one word per minute.
When Hawking called Intel for a solution, their Chief Technology Officer and director of Intel Labs, Justin Rattner took up the challenge.
His idea is a system that is sensitive to other facial expressions and movements. The platform would use Hawking's mouth and eyebrow movements to add to how he forms his words; this could potentially help him build words up to 10 times faster. Combine that with a potential Morse code system and Hawking could amp the speed up even further.
An intensive facial recognition infrastructure is also under consideration.
Hawking wouldn't be the only beneficiary of this system. It could be a way to help the countless others who have difficulty communicating for a variety of reasons. Intel is also reportedly interested in moving some of their technology research in the direction of providing solutions for the elderly and those who require assisted living.
Here's hoping that Intel finds the perfect system for Hawking soon. There's no doubt he has much to contribute to the world.