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Get Stephen Hawking's speech software for free

Get Stephen Hawking's speech software for free
PHOTO COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK

Since the 1960s, British genius Stephen Hawking has been suffering from ALS, a severe condition that has rendered him unable to move or communicate. In fact, he hasn't spoken a word since 1985.

Yet, he's still considered to be one of the world's smartest men, and one of the most successful. He's done groundbreaking research in metaphysics and astronomy, notably informing the world about once-unknown black holes that, today, we know are commonplace throughout the universe.

Hawking is also the author of several books, like "A Brief History of Time," which opened up astronomy to countless people. The best-selling book has sold millions of copies in more than 40 different languages.

Despite his debilitating physical condition, Hawking has never stopped communicating with the world. That includes speaking, in his distinctive computer-aided voice.

That voice is an Intel creation, using technology called assistive context-aware toolkit, or ACAT. This complex software allows a disabled person to communicate through a computer.

In Hawking's case, that's "typing" in words by moving a muscle in his cheek, which is then read by a webcam. More than that, the Intel software can anticipate what Hawking meant to say, even if he misses some keystrokes.

Intel has now made its ACAT software available to the public, for free. Anyone can now use this open-source technology to create voices of their own.

Before you jump in, you should know that, while Intel has made it available to everyone, its intention is to give the software to developers it hopes will tinker with ACAT, and make it better for future generations.

Note: Open-source is currently available for PCs, not Macs.

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Source: Wired
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