Download the Software That Provides Stephen Hawking’s Voice

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Cre­ative Com­mons image via NASA

Ah to be pos­sessed of a high­ly dis­tinc­tive voice.

Actress Kather­ine Hep­burn had one.

As did FDR

And not­ed Hol­ly­wood Square Paul Lyn­de…

Physi­cist Stephen Hawk­ing may trump them all, though his famous­ly rec­og­niz­able voice is not organ­ic. The one we all asso­ciate with him has been com­put­er gen­er­at­ed since wors­en­ing Amy­otroph­ic lat­er­al scle­ro­sis, aka Lou Gehrig’s dis­ease, led to a tra­cheoto­my in 1985.

With­out the use of his hands, Hawk­ing con­trols the Assis­tive Con­text-Aware Toolk­it soft­ware with a  sen­sor attached to one of his cheek mus­cles.

Recent­ly, Intel has made the soft­ware and its user guide avail­able for free down­load on the code shar­ing site, Github. It requires a com­put­er run­ning Win­dows XP or above to use, and also a web­cam that will track the visu­al cues of the user’s facial expres­sions.

The mul­ti-user pro­gram allows users to type in MS Word and browse the Inter­net, in addi­tion to assist­ing them to “speak” aloud in Eng­lish.

The soft­ware release is intend­ed to help researchers aid­ing suf­fer­ers of motor neu­ron dis­eases, not pranksters seek­ing to bor­row the famed physicist’s voice for their door­bells and cook­ie jar lids. To that end, the free ver­sion comes with a default voice, not Pro­fes­sor Hawking’s.

Down­load the Assis­tive Con­text-Aware Toolk­it (ACAT) here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Stephen Hawking’s Big Ideas Explained with Sim­ple Ani­ma­tion

Stephen Hawk­ing Starts Post­ing on Face­book: Join His Quest to Explain What Makes the Uni­verse Exist

Stephen Hawking’s Uni­verse: A Visu­al­iza­tion of His Lec­tures with Stars & Sound

Free Online Physics Cours­es

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine. Her play, Fawn­book, is cur­rent­ly play­ing in New York City. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday

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  • Marcia Stewart says:

    With my amy­otroph­ic lat­er­al scle­ro­sis (ALS), the first thing that hap­pened almost 2 years ago now, was speak­ing as if I were drunk. I was­n’t. I ini­tial­ly did improve speech (artic­u­lat­ing clear­ly but slow) but now I can no longer speak in an accept­able way. Then, a year lat­er eat­ing became prob­lem­at­ic, I was bit­ing my tongue and lips, and chew­ing became weak and less con­trolled. Soon after that some fin­gers start­ed to fail me and things would drop out of my hands. Some­where at that time bul­bar ALS was diag­nosed. The Rilutek (rilu­zole) did very lit­tle to help me. The med­ical team did even less. My decline was rapid and dev­as­tat­ing.. We tried every shot avail­able but noth­ing was work­ing. There has been lit­tle if any progress in find­ing a reli­able treat­ment, Our care provider intro­duced us to Kycuyu Health Clin­ic ALS/MND herbal treat­ment. The treat­ment is a miracle.i recov­ered sig­nif­i­cant­ly!

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