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Speech Assisting Technology Used By Stephen Hawking Now Available

Posted by Brian Spence on Sep 16, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Stephen Hawking, Speech Therapy, Speech Therapist, Healthcare StaffingIf you've ever listened to Stephen Hawking speak through his computer, you have witnessed a marvel of technology. Stephen Hawking has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a motor neurone disease that has robbed him of the control of most of his muscle movements. However, Hawking has maintained his place at the forefront of academia, regularly publishing and speaking.

Adaptive technology has given him the ability to communicate despite his inability to physically form words verbally, or use written or sign language based communication.

Intel designed a computer for Hawking that allows the computer to interpret muscle movements in his cheek muscles and produce a computerized voice on Hawking's behalf.

It is remarkable to think that very subtle facial movements are the only cues Hawking has to provide to his computer in order to type and speak. This technology has kept Hawking from feeling fully imprisoned by his failing body.

Now, that same technology is being made available to the public by Intel. The hope is that it will give severely disabled individuals the ability to communicate, just like it has for Hawking.

According to the BBC article, "Stephen Hawking's Speech Tech Released By Intel" a principal engineer at Intel expressed hope that developers will expand the usefulness of the technology,

"She added that the team had already experimented with a variety of different sensors, and they are hoping developers will try out other options appropriate to each patient's needs and abilities."
"We also have an accelerometer [motion] sensor for patients who can use a finger but not much more, and a button system for someone who can push a button," she said."

Therapists will soon be able to access the program that supports computer-aided speech production for their severely disabled patients. If you want to work for a healthcare company that invests in cutting edge technology for patient care, please contact us. We help place healthcare employees into jobs that fit their strengths.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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