Stephen Hawking's new speech synthesizer made based on SwiftKey
Professor Hawking and his team of technicians,
Stephen Hawking, have been struggling with degenerative disease of motor neurons for more than 50 years. Unfortunately, the professor’s speech rate has been decreasing over the years, so in 2011 he asked Intel co-founder Gordon Moore to ask if Intel could help him upgrade and deliver a more efficient system.
Intel has completed the order, and in January 2015, it promises to put the ACAT (Assistive Context Aware Toolkit) program in free access. More than 3 million people worldwide suffer from degenerative disease of motor neurons. Soon they will be able to take advantage of open-source development from Intel. In addition, researchers can refine the program under the control of touch, blinking, eyebrow movement and other ways.
The software is made on the basis of SwiftKey technology and with the help of specialists from this company.
The development of ACAT lasted three years, and SwiftKey got involved two years ago. The new Hawking synthesizer predicts input words, as SwiftKey does on mobile devices. As a result, the professor needs to enter only 20% of the characters for typing.
The Hawking synthesizer was originally made in the form of a lever on the chair, with which he selected letters on the computer screen. He used the system almost unchanged for several decades, only a few years ago an infrared sensor was placed on Hawking glasses to indicate the letters in the direction of his gaze.
With ACAT, the professor selects whole words instead of letters. As a result, the speed of entering text doubled, and the execution time of the most common tasks increased tenfold (surfing the Internet, etc.).
The ACAT program was developed taking into account the vocabulary, which the professor handed over to the developers. If the program code is opened, then the vocabulary body, probably, can be customized individually for each user.
Intel has been helping Stephen Hawking choose computer hardware since 1997, when Gordon Moore noticed that Stephen was using a computer with an AMD processor . Since then, Intel has been free to upgrade Hawking computers every two years.
Professor Hawking commented on the installation of a new speech synthesizer: “Medicine could not cure me, so I rely on technology to communicate and live. Intel has been supporting me for almost 20 years, letting me do what I love every day. The development of this system has the potential to improve the lives of people around the world and is an advanced system for ensuring human communication and overcoming communication barriers that previously stood in the way. ”
Doctors diagnosed a degenerative motor neuron disease in Stephen Hawking when he was 21 years old. Experts believed that he would live to a maximum of 25 years. Now the professor is 72 years old.