Stephen Hawking: The Wheelchair Explained!

Professor Stephen Hawking is known for his works on the basic laws which govern the universe, He has 12 honorary degree along with many awards, medals and prizes. At present, he is the director of research at the Centre for theoretical cosmology at the University of Cambridge. The reason why this person is not being very active in the media or doesn’t show up much is because of the rare type of disease which he was diagnosed when he was 21 years old. He was paralyzed by Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) Which is one of a kind with motor neuron disease. So wheelchair was the only option in the end.

The Wheelchair combined with Intel Computer! How it helped Hawking?

After 1997 the Intel provided a computer based communication system in which the main interface to the computer is through a program called EZ Keys which is written by Words Plus Inc, It shows the software keyboard on the screen. The cursor automatically scans across this keyboard by rows and columns. With the advanced technology, He can select a particular character by moving his cheek to stop the cursor. His cheek movement is detected by an infrared  switch which is mounted on his spectacles.

from  On the Shoulders of Giants
Stephen Hawking with his Intel Computer mounted to his wheelchair!

In Detail

The EZ keys which consist a word prediction algorithm such that, He only needs to type the first two characters before selecting the whole word. When an appropriate sentence is formed. It is sent to the speech synthesizer which is made by Speech+, It has the accent of American, Scandinavian  or Scottish Languages. EZ keys also control the mouse in windows which allows him to operate the whole computer system without much difficulty.

The tablet which is used as a monitor  is mounted on the arm of the wheelchair which is powered by the wheelchair batteries. Apart from reading and writing digitally he also sends E-mail and does webcam chat with Skype. The computer uses a Eudora Email client and a Firefox browser. With the help of the new Intel i7 processor and the Intel Solid state drive 520 series Mr. Hawking even does video conferencing, Through which he can show his facial expression to those who know’s him well.

The speech synthesizer along with the EZ keys is a great tool for Mr. Hawking to express his thoughts like the common man. Intel is really working hard with its Innovative technology and have formed a team of engineers who are busy in making a new facial recognition system which is focused on improving Mr. Hawking communication speed level.


The Overall Configuration of the Computer System powered by Intel

1. Lenovo ThinkPad X220 Tablet.

2. Intel Core i7-2620M CPU @ 2.7GHz.

3. Intel, 150 GB Solid-State Drive 520 Series.

4. Windows OS.

5. Speech Synthesizers (3 Variants).

6. Manufacturer – Speech Plus (Incorporated 1988, Mountain View, CA).

7. Model – Call Text 5010.

Image Source : Google

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