Chip giant Intel is working on a method to help renowned physicist Stephen Hawking continue to communicate, a project which could change the lives of many people.
Chip giant Intel is working on a method to help renowned physicist Stephen Hawking continue to communicate.
Hawking has been almost completely paralysed since he was 21 after he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, but that has not stopped him from becoming one of the most prominent thinkers of our time.
He communicates by twitching his right cheek, which alerts a sensor attached to his glasses and converts the signals into words via a voice synthesizer.
As Hawking ages, however, the nerves in his cheek have begun to deteroriate, making it more difficult to communicate as the pace of his word creation drops to just one per minute. Hawking celebrated his 70th birthday on Sunday, defying doctors who said he would live a maximum of five years after diagnosis.
Intel has launched a research project to come up with a solution to the problem, according to the company's CTO Justin Rattner. Possible ideas include technology that can track eye movement or brainwaves, developments which could revolutionise the lives of many people.
There is no timeframe for when this technology will be ready, however, as it is still in the early stages of research and development.