Google+

To Read The Brain Patterns of Prof Stephen Hawking

An American scientist is to unveil details of work on the brain patterns of Prof Stephen Hawking which he says could help safeguard the physicist’s ability to communicate.

Prof Philip Low said he eventually hoped to allow Prof Hawking to “write” words with his brain as an alternative to his current speech system which interprets cheek muscle movements.

Prof Low said the innovation would avert the risk of locked-in syndrome.

Intel is working on an alternative.

Prof Hawking was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 1963. In the 1980s he was able to use slight thumb movements to move a computer cursor to write sentences.

His condition later worsened and he had to switch to a system which detects movements in his right cheek through an infrared sensor attached to his glasses which measures changes in light.

Because the nerves in his face continue to deteriorate his rate of speech has slowed to about one word a minute prompting him to look for an alternative.

The fear is that Prof Hawking could ultimately lose the ability to communicate by body movement, leaving his brain effectively “locked in” his body.

In 2011, he allowed Prof Low to scan his brain using the iBrain device developed by the Silicon Valley-based start-up Neurovigil.

Prof Hawking will not attend the consciousness conference in his home town of Cambridge where Prof Low intends to discuss his findings, but a spokesman told the BBC: “Professor Hawking is always interested in supporting research into new technologies to help him communicate.”

Decoding brainwaves

The iBrain is a headset that records brain waves through EEG (electroencephalograph) readings – electrical activity recorded from the user’s scalp.

Neurovigil iBrainThe iBrain device collects EEG data which it transfers to a computer

Prof Low said he had designed computer software which could analyse the data and detect high frequency signals that had previously been thought lost because of the skull.

“An analogy would be that as you walk away from a concert hall where there’s music from a range of instruments,” he told the BBC.

“As you go further away you will stop hearing high frequency elements like the violin and viola, but still hear the trombone and the cello. Well, the further you are away from the brain the more you lose the high frequency patterns.

“What we have done is found them and teased them back using the algorithm so they can be used.”

Prof Low said that when Prof Hawking had thought about moving his limbs this had produced a signal which could be detected once his algorithm had been applied to the EEG data.

He said this could act as an “on-off switch” and produce speech if a bridge was built to a similar system already used by the cheek detection system.

Prof Hawking with Intel equipmentIntel began working with Prof Hawking after he wrote a letter to its co-founder Gordon Moore in 2011

Prof Low said further work needed to be done to see if his equipment could distinguish different types of thoughts – such as imagining moving a left hand and a right leg.

If it turns out that this is the case he said Prof Hawking could use different combinations to create different types of virtual gestures, speeding up the rate he could select words at.

To establish whether this is the case, Prof Low plans trials with other patients in the US.

Intel’s effort

The US chipmaker Intel announced, in January, that it had also started work to create a new communication system for Prof Hawking after he had asked the firm’s co-founder, Gordon Moore, if it could help him.

It is attempting to develop new 3D facial gesture recognition softwareto speed up the rate at which Prof Hawking can write.

“These gestures will control a new user interface that takes advantage of the multi-gesture vocabulary and advances in word prediction technologies,” a spokeswoman told the BBC.

“We are working closely with Professor Hawking to understand his needs and design the system accordingly.”

Source: BBC /

Entertainment

Justice Denied Documentary Chronicles Racist Targeting of Chinese-American Bank

  Abacus: Small Enough to Jail Film Review by Kam Williams Justice Denied Documentary Chronicles Racist Targeting of Chinese-American Bank Asian-Americans are often referred to as the "model minority" because of their  success in the U.S. despite the existence of discrimination which has crippled other ethnic groups. However, the label has also led many a racist to misread Asian modesty as an invitation to treat them like … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Books

Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama

  Rising Star The Making of Barack Obama  by David J. Garrow William Morrow Hardcover, $45.00 1472 pages ISBN: 978-0-06-264183-0 Book Review by Kam Williams “Barack Obama's speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention instantly catapulted him into the national spotlight and led to his election four years later as America's first African-American president. In this penetrating biography, David J. Garrow delivers an epic work … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

The Day After the Day Of

  The Day After the Day Of by Paul Ilechko   The sky sheds its tears. This morning is the morning of the day after. The day of mourning, the day after the day of.  I beseech the sky to shed tears in order to wash away the tears on my face.   This is the first day of the time after. This is the beginning of a new time, the days of pain, the days of sorrow. We are in mourning. The sky looks down and sheds its tears for … [Read More its Good For You...]

Real Estate

History Being Sold to the Highest Bidder

  History Being Sold to the Highest Bidder by Amy Lignor   For the longest time, scientists and archaeologists have been confused and bemused by various discoveries they’ve unearthed that offer little or no explanation as to the who, what, and why of the people who created these things or left them behind. Even now, in 2017, there are discoveries being studied; stories that were once legends now have actual bits of proof being found that … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Lifestyle

Stunning Stenberg!

  Amandla Stenberg The “Everything, Everything” Interview with Kam Williams Stunning Stenberg! Amandla Stenberg first gained recognition for her role as Rue in The Hunger Games, alongside Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson. After the success of that film, Amandla earned the 2012 Teen Choice Award with Jennifer for Best Film Chemistry. She was also nominated for NAACP Image and Black Reel Awards for that … [Read More its Good for You...]

Outdoors

Finding Bass During a Mixed Spawn Season

  Finding Bass During a Mixed Spawn Season Yamaha Pro Mark Davis Offers Two Solutions For Catching Bass This Spring Warmer-than-normal winter temperatures have shuffled bass spawning schedules on many lakes throughout the country this spring, but Mark Davis has seen it before, and the veteran Yamaha Pro knows just how to approach the problem. “With the milder winter, bass began spawning much earlier than usual this year so when a … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

A Sport Where You Feel the Thrill Without Going to the Extreme

  A Sport Where You Feel the Thrill Without Going to the Extreme by Amy Lignor   There are many sports “fanatics” out there who literally dive head-first into an extreme sport in order to get their adrenaline pumping – taking on a sport that comes hand-in-hand with a monumental amount of risk. But for those who are not interested in being scared to death, yet wish to feel the thrill, data has shown that zip lining has become the … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

The Hottest Locales for Small Business in the U.S.

  The Hottest Locales for Small Business in the U.S. by Amy Lignor   No, Silicon Valley is not being replaced. However, with the Kauffman Foundation releasing its annual Startup Activity Index last week showing, in detail, trends in U.S. business startups for 2017, it was revealed that California has been booted out of first place. The top spot for new businesses to be built and thrive in the United States has been taken over by the big, … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Once Upon a Time Vacations

  Once Upon a Time Vacations by Amy Lignor   Whether you are a lover of history or you simply have the “Beauty & the Beast” obsession – which, according to movie revenue data, millions all over the world are suffering from – just think how amazing it would be to stay in an actual castle. We already know what the beauty would be from the female perspective, but when it comes to the gentlemen out there, just think about how much … [Read More its Good for You...]

Green Living

Creating the Perfect Vegetable Garden

  Creating the Perfect Vegetable Garden by Amy Lignor   Many are still dealing with that wintery mix Mother Nature just loves to toss down from the sky this time of year. Yet, that gardener living inside the soul – the one just dreaming of the sunny skies and lazy rainy days that are must-haves in order to grow the best vegetables possible – is already jotting down the facts, tricks and tips they need to know in order to make that … [Read More its Good for You...]