Intel hopes to help Hawking speak

Intel Corp. is looking for ways to help famed British physicist Stephen Hawking reverse the slowing of his speech, according to a senior executive with the American chipmaker.

Lou Gehrig’s disease has left Hawking almost completely paralyzed. While an infrared sensor attached to his glasses translates the pulses in his right cheek into words spoken by a voice synthesizer, the nerves in his face have deteriorated and those close to him say his rate of speech has slowed to about a word a minute.

Intel Chief Technology Officer Justin Rattner said his company had a team in England to explore ways to help the celebrity scientist communicate more quickly.

Rattner said his best bet was on high definition cameras that pick up on the minute movements in Hawking’s face to synthesize his speech.

Intel didn’t immediately respond to a request for further information.

Associated Press