Intel has released the speech system it developed for disabled physicist Stephen Hawking into the public domain.
The system, called ACAT for Assistive Context-Aware Toolkit, is now available for free as an open source code.
The system, which has been three years in the making, is only available for PCs running windows XP or higher and can be downloaded from developers’ website Github.
Intel hopes that releasing the code will encourage developers to build new user interfaces and features that could help severely disabled individuals such as ALS sufferer Hawking to communicate better with the world.
Hawking, who has lost control of almost all of his muscles due to the debilitating disease can speak through the system, which he controls with minuscule facial movements.
The system comes equipped with an infrared sensor or a webcam that reads the facial movements and translates them into the motion of a cursor on a computer screen allowing Hawking to select letters. Advanced word prediction facilitates the typing process and allows Hawking to speak twice as fast than he was able before.
Similarly, the system also makes browsing the Internet and controlling the computer much easier for Hawking.
Intel hopes the developers will help create other interfaces for users with different constraints than those of Stephen Hawking.