California chip making giant Intel, British software developers SwiftKey, and Professor Stephen Hawking were in London today unveiling a new communications platform that will help ease communications for disabled people around the world.
The new technology, that’s been in development by Intel for the past three years, has been dubbed by Professor Hawking as “life changing”.
Lama Nachman, Principle Engineer at Intel, said the new system is hooked over Professor Hawking's glasses onto his cheek, and when an infrared sensor detects motions in his cheek, it offers him a letter of the alphabet, which then suggests various words.
The main problem Professor Hawking was facing in communication is the number of words per minute he could play back and, with time, his word-per-minute rate started decreasing. The new system, claims Nachman, can speed up his speaking tenfold.
"We're able to speed up some of the common tasks he does on his machine by about 10 times," she said. "Stephen was looking for something very familiar, that is similar to his current interface but much more effective”.
Professor Hawking said the new technology will improve the lives of disabled people around the globe. “Medicine has not been able to cure me, so I rely on technology to help me communicate and live,” he said.
“The development of this system has the potential to improve the lives of disabled people around the world and is leading the way in terms of human interaction and the ability to overcome communication boundaries that once stood in the way.”
"This new system is life-changing for me, and I hope that it will serve me well for the next 20 years."