Stephen Hawking is a well known British scientist who has had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis for years and is completely paralyzed for years. It also made him lose his ability to speak, so he communicates through a special synthesizer. Intel, together with Swiftkey, has therefore decided to modernize the technology used by the scientist.
The communication system used by Hawking is about 20 years old, so it’s a technology that’s very fast and the sound generated by it is very mechanical. There are now many more advanced solutions that could greatly improve the equipment used. Therefore, together with Swiftkey, responsible for the very popular on-screen keyboard for mobile devices, Intel has decided to create a new communication system called Assistive Context Aware Toolkit (ACAT).
The new device is definitely more functional than the previous system. Hawkings can now write twice as fast and only need to enter 20 percent of the characters and the rest will automatically be filled. In addition, other tasks like page navigation or document management can be up to 10 times faster.
Importantly, companies have decided to make ACAT available for free, so that other researchers can address the improvement.