How does Stephen Hawking communicate despite having ALS? By blinking. And the technology he is using is being mainstreamed in products that you buy!
Stephen Hawking has one of the world’s most amazing minds, but also has one of the most debilitating diseases – ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. ALS leads to total paralysis of the body but does not impair mental functions. So, how does he communicate his genius ideas? By blinking. That’s right.
There is a computer chip attached to his glasses. The chip has an ingrared reader that is triggered by blinking. Dr. Hawking can express five to ten words per minute using this technology. That’s much faster than one work per minute which he achieved before, using a computer switch on his wheel chair.
The new technology can also track eye movements, allowing Dr. Hawking to “point” at the computer screen with his eye, sort of like a computer mouse would. Look for the advance in a computer store near you. It’s being mainstreamed in products such as Google Glasses and even some smart phones.
I love science!
This blog was written by Paula, at Milwaukee Eye Care.