Friday, 5 December 2014

Stephen Hawking's New Speech System Is Free and Open-source

An anonymous reader writes: Stephen Hawking and Intel have worked together for the past several years to build a new communication system for those suffering from diseases that severely impair motor function. The system is called ACAT (Assistive Context Aware Toolkit), and it will be free and open source. Hawking's previous system had been in use for over 20 years, so the technological upgrade is significant. His typing rate alone has doubled, and common tasks are up to 10 times faster. ACAT uses technology from SwiftKey, a cell phone keyboard enhancement. "Over three million people around the world are affected by motor neuron disease and quadriplegia and because the system created for Hawking is based on open-source software, it could potentially be adapted to suit many of them. Different functions can be enabled by touch, eye blinks, eyebrow movements or other user inputs for communication. Hawking and Intel hope that because the system is open and free it will be adopted by researchers who will want to use it to develop new solutions for those with disabilities."

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