Feeds

back to article Stephen Hawking to demonstrate speech via brain scan

Next month Professor Stephen Hawking will provide details of how a brain-scanning headcap will enable him to communicate more easily. At the Francis Crick Memorial Conference on July 7 in Cambridge, Hawking – and Dr. Philip Low, formerly of Stanford University's School of Medicine - will show how a non-invasive portable scanner …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Anonymous Coward

"The Hawk to talk via iBrain hacked headspace"

New low. If you want to write for the Daily Star, then go do it.

0
11
Flame

Yes, The Hawk! He is an intellectual force to be reckoned with and is right up there with The Hoff, The Heff and Chuck Norris!

Prof. Hawking also has a great sense of humor often shown during his lectures and, of course, his many TV appearances.

Furthermore I think The Reg is far above the Daily star. Go cry somewhere else, poopie-face!

13
0
Bronze badge
Paris Hilton

Redtop

— n

a tabloid newspaper characterized by sensationalism

It's just like The Sun, except they cover IT and the tits are in the comments.

8
0
Silver badge

You forgot... The Stig.

0
0
Silver badge

"The Hawk! He is an intellectual force to be reckoned with and is right up there with The Hoff, The Heff and Chuck Norris!"

The Hawk thinks out problems

The Heff screws problems (If their 18 and blond)

Chuck beats up problems

The Hoff get laughed at?

0
0
Bronze badge

As long as its connected to the same ancient speech synthesiser

It'd be wierd if they ever had to change his voice because the old one wasn't compatible for any reason.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: As long as its connected to the same ancient speech synthesiser

The company who made them went out of business... I think they have one spare. Now people who have the prospect of losing their voice are offered the chance to record a large variety of words, so that a custom speech synthesiser can be built based on their voice.

I don't know whether they could use technique this for Stephen Hawking, or if they could reverse-engineer the existing unit directly. Anyone here care to hazard a guess at how tricky that might be?

0
0
142

Re: As long as its connected to the same ancient speech synthesiser

Reverse engineering at a software level would be possible, I presume - it's always possible to reverse engineer a software algorithm if you're given enough time... they're trying: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21323-the-man-who-saves-stephen-hawkings-voice.html

Reverse engineering by sampling the audio might be possible, but unless the original sound generator is clearly predictable, it'll always sound something like a facsimile of the original - and an approximation of what's already a poor approximation of a human voice may leave a lot to be desired.

You can hear the sort sampling technology in something like Yamaha's Vocaloid singing generation software.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: As long as its connected to the same ancient speech synthesiser

"Stephen Hawking —born in Croydon, but has an American accent. Pretentious fucker!", Ricky Gervais

3
0
Silver badge

Re: As long as its connected to the same ancient speech synthesiser

"The company who made them went out of business... I think they have one spare. Now people who have the prospect of losing their voice are offered the chance to record a large variety of words, so that a custom speech synthesiser can be built based on their voice."

Come on Darth Vader would be cool. He could go the Emperor and hook up a taser so he could shock people with the power of his mind. The possibilities would be endless

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Great! If only he still had something to say.

Another chance to hear him explain that there's actually no black hole information paradox because, um, the multiverse or something. That's the ticket.

1
14
Bronze badge

Re: Great! If only he still had something to say.

I really don't care if the only use he wants to put it to is ordering a burger and chips. If anyone deserves a device like this its someone who has contributed so much already in the face of such adversity.

30
0
FAIL

Re: Great! If only he still had something to say.

Quite right. He should instead stick to the work of true geniuses everywhere, anonymous content-free posts on obscure web sites.

13
0
Silver badge

Re: Great! If only he still had something to say.

"Another chance to hear him explain that there's actually no black hole information paradox because, um, the multiverse or something. That's the ticket."

Translation:

"I'd like to hear him talk but I'm too stupid so I'll just watch Jerry Springer instead. Thats the ticket."

10
1
Silver badge
Thumb Up

This will be cool, and once it's combined with the ability to control a powered wheelchair that'd be even more awesome. Though a cure for Motor Neurone disease, DMD and other conditions would be even cooler but this is great stuff and should make life a bit better (and cooler) for people with those and other disabilities in the meantime!

3
0
Silver badge

Too bloody right

I certainly hope that this will lead to the freeing of people from locked in syndrome and the sheer horror of having to watch last weeks AM case and all these fuckwits saying life is sacred when they don't have to live it.

I'd imagine a couple of really good research students to work on this for a few years would be a lot cheaper than a couple of hours in the high court.

2
0
Go

I wonder...

Will he have to think in russian?

12
0
Coat

Re: I wonder...

Don't make me make a web browser pun.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

iBrain?

I wonder if Apple has a copyright on the word iBrain?

4
1
Anonymous Coward

Remember the iPood?

Apple vigorously lays claim to every product name beginning with the letter "i", regardless of trademark status or conceivable relevance to their fruity consumer electronics. You can bet that Dr. Low will be hearing from the lawyers in Cupertino about this blatant theft of Apple IP.

3
0
Silver badge

Re: iBrain?

"I wonder if Apple has a copyright on the word iBrain?"

Actually they copywrited the letter 'i' so iBrain breaches it twice.

4
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: iBrain?

...Smoke pours from the Tediously Predictable-O-Tron as some "wit" inevitably derails the thread with the obligatory 'Apple lawyers / Fanboi' comment...

6
5
Anonymous Coward

Re: iBrain?

The scary thing is I had the same thought, would Apple wade in and sue?

Its a sad state when your first thought of a tech company is will they sue...

And the sadder thing is, they do actually produce some decent hardware and software, not revolutionary, but they certainly know how to take other peoples ideas and glue them together to make something greater than the sum of its parts... although they have been a bit slow on the screen size issue, the MAIN reason I never owned an iPhone is they are too tiny for mans hands!

2
1
Silver badge
Joke

Re: iBrain?

@Thorne

Even worse, when you try to explain to them that you're in the right, they get you again!

You: I entirely disagree with the accusations of copyright infringement through use of the name iBrain. It is my intention to fight this all the way.

Apple: Ah-hah, another 14 counts. Your honour it's clearly will-ful infringement, triple damages please.

2
0
Bronze badge

Re: Remember the iPood?

The iBrain would appear to be an existing trademark in Australia, at least:

http://brain.org.au/software/

Although the Australia TM office don't seem to have it registered (perhaps the Ozzies were leaping on the i-bandwagon themselves...)

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: iBrain?

I have rather large hands, and I find the iPhone more or less OK size wise. My thumb can reach every point on the screen surface while in one handed use - which as was pointed out somewhere else, is the reason that the iPhone is the size that it is.

You must have monster hands to find an iPhone too small.

Dweeb

0
0
Silver badge
FAIL

Re: Remember the iPood?

"Apple vigorously lays claim to every product name beginning with the letter "i", regardless of trademark status or conceivable relevance to their fruity consumer electronics."

Do you have any actual evidence to back that up, or are you extrapolating based on the three lawsuits you read about in The Register?

Apple either isn't going after everyone using i* names, or they have the worst lawyers in history, because I've seen a shitton of products / services that utilize the cliche, many in the electronics / software business.

I'm not exactly an Apple booster, but the mouth-foaming rhetoric is really getting old. And if you ARE going to foam at the mouth, ffs have *some* kind of basis for it.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

An ibrick for An iapple

If Crapple choose to put down what amounts to a humanitarian need, then they need a short sharp lesson.

Id like to see 1000 people turn up a the London Crapple store, each with a house brick in their holdall, and on the word "go" throw them through the crapple window and into the store.

1
3
Anonymous Coward

Re: An ibrick for An iapple

Now I'm sure this can be arranged.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: An ibrick for An iapple

Would that be an iMob ?

1
0
Coat

Re: An ibrick for An iapple

Well, it's not going to be a Flash mob on an iDevice...

2
0
Happy

Science is cool

That is all...

2
0
Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: Science is cool

Sorry about the accidental down-vote, mouse misbehaving, I am afraid. Add the up-vote too

The "D'oh! icon applies to me, not your post, as the science is indeed very, very cool

1
0
Terminator

although the iBrain does carry a USB port for uploading.

THE SINGULARITY IS HERE.

0
0

Re: although the iBrain does carry a USB port for uploading.

...unless it's foiled by a redesigned connector.

0
0
Silver badge
Go

Re: although the iBrain does carry a USB port for uploading.

What about downloading? Or Wi-Fi?

Can I hook up a robot arm (or a whole army of spider robots) if it's got a USB connection?

USB 2 or 3?

The public need to know!

1
0

i

is not copyrighted by Apple, just ask IBM

1
0
Silver badge
Joke

Re: i

IBM is OK, but don't ever make it iBM

1
0
Thumb Up

about time

Ok, where do I get my hands on one? Also, has Apple sued them over the i<Device> moniker already?

0
0
Boffin

If you all did some research...

The company providing this device has been around for a few years and the iBrain itself since 2010. The fellow who started it received a PHD for a one page thesis. The company leadership is him and three very experienced legal advisers. I doubt Apple will be suing him anytime soon.

0
0
Facepalm

iBrain?

Christ on a bike! What a crappy name for such an amazing (assuming it works) piece of tech. Imagine Prof. Hawking being able to talk again.

I hope this thing won't accidentally vocalise his musings that were {phwoor look at the thrupenny bits on that!} intended to be kept silent.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Is this such a good idea when used with men?

as the particles, moving at the speed of light approach, er, the cleavage, wow, are those real?

2
0
Go

Movement

Hmm.. if a brain-scanning head-cap has the possibility to enable him to communicate more easily then could it also be used for mobility? I'm thinking people who are paralysed from the neck down (incl. arm function).

I think it brain scanning tech works it'll be a huge leap in technology. Hopefully leading to brain controlled robotic devices / arms / legs.

0
0
Alien

Genesis of the Daleks?

The way Prof Hawking is going he'll end up looking like Davros.

0
0
Silver badge

I'm not sure what the deal is with the brain scanning stuff here - they've been doing it for years and years with things like pong-playing monkeys, etc. I know that some of the more complicated stuff (moving limbs, working artificial hands) has required implanted electrodes and their attendant problems, but in its simplest form - a direct replacement for the selection mechanism employed by Mr. Hawking's face - I don't see why this shouldn't be pretty much bolt-on tech even with headcap stuff.

I could be wrong, but based on 'thinking about moving his limbs' and other little bits in there, it certainly sounds as if this is essentially a four-bit (or so) discrete input device, not a miraculous thing that spits out audio straight from the subject's noggin.

(All that aside, as a guy who writes electronic music, let me tell you that if they DO find a way to get my 'invented' audio out of my head intact, they can start firing up the drills now, 'cos if I can turn my brain into a synthesizer, put me on the list. Trepanation without hesitation!)

So is the breakthrough here a marketing one rather than a science one, is it being explained badly by someone along the chain, or is there a genuine difficulty in commercializing this and making it practical for long-term usage that has been solved (also fits with the second option...)?

0
0
Happy

So what's next?

After they get the mind speach thing working flawlessly, they need to work on the wireless implants to the localized nerves in the arms and legs, so they can get the arms and feet working. That would be awesome. It may be possible to reanimate people with these conditions afterall.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.