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Intel Communications Input Devices Science

Intel To Help Stephen Hawking Communicate Faster 133

Posted by samzenpus
from the keep-talking dept.
hypnosec writes "Stephen Hawking's ability to communicate has been deteriorating over the years and as it stands, he is only able to communicate at the rate of 1 word per minute. Intel CTO Justin Rattner has revealed that they are working on an interface that will boost the scientist's speech to up to 10 words per minute. Beyond twitching his cheek, Hawking is also capable of other voluntary facial expressions which can be tapped to achieve faster communications with the help of a better character interface and a better word predictor."
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Intel To Help Stephen Hawking Communicate Faster

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  • by Dark$ide (732508) on Sunday January 20, 2013 @06:27PM (#42642177) Journal
    They're going to have to enhance the aurocorrect dictionary or it will make complete nonsense of Prof. Hawking's very technical speech.
  • Yay! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shemmie (909181) on Sunday January 20, 2013 @06:35PM (#42642229)

    He'll be able to do even more awful TV adverts for crappy insurance companies! [youtube.com]

    • Re:Yay! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by lattyware (934246) <gareth@lattyware.co.uk> on Sunday January 20, 2013 @06:48PM (#42642341) Homepage Journal
      Isn't it a little awesome that he has become a (general) idol? I mean, everyone cries out that the current celebrity culture is terrible, and yet here we have a man who is everything everyone should aspire to, despite terrible adversity, and he is in popular TV shows, doing adverts. Isn't that a good thing? I am glad that we are moving on and people who in the past would only be icons for the geeky, or those in the field can become icons for everyone, because it means we are focusing on better things in people.
      • by Shemmie (909181)

        On the level you're coming at it from, it's wonderful.

        I hope it's taken that way. I hope people laugh at the joke...

      • If he wasn't crippled, he wouldn't be an idol.

        Sad but true.

        • He might not be AS much of an idol, but he'd still be as big an idol as say Neil deGrasse Tyson, Brian Cox or Phil Plait.

        • by timeOday (582209)
          I guess his scientific output would be more but his notoriety would be less.
        • by smpoole7 (1467717)

          > If he wasn't crippled, he wouldn't be an idol.

          I respectfully disagree, at least in part. Sure, the public admires him because he absolutely refuses to give up, in spite of disease that would have made most people surrender long before now. I respect him for that.

          But to be fair, Hawking had already made a name for himself long before he landed in that wheelchair -- starting with the Adams Prize for his doctoral thesis (back in 1966). He's not just winging it or banking on public sympathy. He and Roger P

    • That's actually a brilliant ad.

      Easily the best ad I've seen in ages, as it really takes the piss out of the company's own ads.

      • Problem is though that it's the fifth (or sixth? I lost count) in a series that have been doing just that - and it's getting tedious now

        It may even be time to get rid of my opera-singing namesake as their main character while they're at it, and come up with a new pitch...

  • But... (Score:5, Funny)

    by ilsaloving (1534307) on Sunday January 20, 2013 @06:39PM (#42642263)

    That's all well and good, but what will happen when Hawking dictates a formula that involves division?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Come on IBM, why don't you hook him up to the neural interface and the supercomputer you built to run the platform????

    Oh right...sorry...we all need to keep quiet that your neural research is coming from an unlawful human experiementation program.

    Dicks.

    • Or they could get Hawking one of these. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotiv_Systems [wikipedia.org] A brain computer interface that is available to consumers already. With it they could give him a means of communication even if he loose what little control of his body he has left

      • by yahwotqa (817672)

        They could definitely get one of those for you. You could hook it up to your spell checker, and it would hopefully figure out that when you write 'loose', you really mean 'loses'. :)

  • it's pity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 20, 2013 @06:46PM (#42642325)

    It's pity that person that have so many interesting things to say can't communicate normally with other peoples.

    There are a lot of people that speak a lot and doesn't have anything interesting to say.

  • And (Score:5, Funny)

    by M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) on Sunday January 20, 2013 @07:01PM (#42642425)

    Are they loading the urban dictionary?

  • After meeting with Hawking, Rattner said he wondered whether his company’s processor technology could restore the scientist’s ability to communicate at five words per minute, or even increase that rate to 10.

    A business person would probably have left and said, "boring conversation anyway"

  • Eye Tracking (Score:5, Interesting)

    by monkeyhybrid (1677192) on Sunday January 20, 2013 @07:23PM (#42642603)

    A quick Youtube search turns up this example of eye-tracking tech for character input [youtube.com]. Yeah, it doesn't look to be much faster than Intel's proposed 10 words per minute but that clip is 5 years old and I'm sure it could be improved upon in a number of ways (instead of having to 'hover' over a key for couple seconds for it to confirm, maybe a twitch could be used instead).

    Only the other day we saw a demonstration of eye tracking being used with the Windows 8 interface. Something like that would allow him to browse the web, email, take notes, etc.

    • Oh, and add decent predictive text like modern smartphone soft-keyboards have too. I think I remember reading that his current system has some form of predictive text but I'm guessing it's pretty dated.

    • by vuo (156163)
      There is also the option of using Dasher. [cam.ac.uk] You only need four controls: up, down and forward and back. The program shows a tree of the possible options, emphasizing more frequent words. You can write "the" by just looking at "t" and then at the "h e" that appear. This is pretty intuitive with eye-tracking, more so than a keyboard.
    • by mdielmann (514750)

      Something like that would allow him to browse the web, email, take notes, etc.

      For the love of god, keep Hawking off the web. It seems we have one great mind left that's exploring how the world works, and you want to sidetrack him with lolcats?!?!

      Yes, I'm joking.

  • Intel is not evil after all!

    Now I will buy all their shit.

  • Wiki [wikipedia.org]
    Images [google.com]
  • I'm glad they can increase Hawking's speech rate by an order of magnitude, but that's a lot of work to accommodate people like Hawking: those with ALS that live more than 10 years. I think only 1% of ALS patients live past 10 years. Hawking has lived 50+ years with ALS, which makes him an incredibly rare case.

A motion to adjourn is always in order.

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