Intel to Help Stephen Hawking Speak Again

By Jordan Eggers January 10, 2012

Intel senior executive says they are looking for ways to help Stephen Hawking reverse the slowing of his speech.

Known as the largest semiconductor chip maker, the technology company is long familiar with Hawking and his degenerative disorder, Lou Gehrig’s disease. Stephen Hawking, who is famous for his work regarding black holes, was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 21.

In 1997, Intel engineers developed a notebook computer for Hawking that helped him wirelessly access the Internet and control lights and doors, as reported by the LA Times. According to the article, the system also helped Hawking communicate more easily by accelerating his text-to-voice synthesis software.

At the time, Stephen Hawking was quoted as saying, “Intel’s newest Pentium processor technology keeps me connected to the world,” adding, “I must be one of the most connected people in the world, and I can truly say, I’m Intel inside.”

Lou Gehrig’s disease is incurable and has left Hawking paralyzed. Now the nerves in his face have deteriorated, and although he has the use of an infrared sensor that translates the pulses in his right cheeks into words spoken by a voice synthesizer, his speech has slowed down to a word a minute.

“This is a research project,” Justin Rattner, Intel chief technology officer, told the Associated Press, saying the team’s task was to gather data for further study.

Rattner believes Hawking’s best bet is on high definition cameras that pick up on the minute movements in his face to synthesize his speech.

“My wager is some form of facial feature recognition will unlock it for Stephen,” Rattner said.

On Sunday, a conference at the University of Cambridge in Britain was held for Hawking’s 70th birthday. However, he was unable to make the even due to an illness that kept him in recovery in the hospital.

“It is unusual for (motor neuron disease) patients to survive for decades, but not unheard of,” said Dr. Rup Tandan, a neurology professor at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. Tandan added that many longtime survivors have ventilators to breathe for them, which is not the case for Hawking.

Intel has yet to give a specific timeframe for the company’s work and have yet to respond to request for further information.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO East 2012, taking place Jan. 31-Feb. 3 2012, in Miami, FL. ITEXPO offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. For more information on registering for ITEXPO registration click here.

Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO. Follow us on Twitter.


Jordan Eggers has five years of writing experience and has written pieces for various print outlets and websites. Currently living abroad, she is working as a freelance writer and enjoys keeping up-to-date on everything new happening in technology.

Edited by Rich Steeves

Contributing Writer

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

10 Benefits of Drone-Based Asset Inspections

By: Frank Segarra    1/15/2018

Although a new and emerging technology, (which is still evolving), in early 2018, most companies are not aware of the possible benefits they can achie…

Read More

VR Could Change Entertainment Forever

By: Special Guest    1/11/2018

VR could change everything from how we play video games to how we interact with our friends and family. VR has the power to change how we consume all …

Read More

Making Connections - The Value of Data Correlation

By: Special Guest    1/5/2018

The app economy is upon us, and businesses of all stripes are moving to address it. In this age of digital transformation, businesses rely on applicat…

Read More

3 Ways to Improve Your VR Projects

By: Ellie Martin    1/4/2018

There is no denying that VR is here and will most likely only increase in velocity as a terminal speed is yet to be even hypothesized. That is why it …

Read More

Alphabet to See Schmidt Step Down

By: Maurice Nagle    12/21/2017

In 2001, Google brought Eric Schmidt on board as CEO. To 10 years later become executive chairman, and continue to serve in this capacity through rest…

Read More