Stephen Hawkings PC

Intels Free Press hat ein Interview mit dem Ingenieur, der Stephen Hawkings Computer baut. Hawking bedient den Rechner übrigens mit Bewegungen seiner Backen über einen Sensor in seiner Brille.

What technology does Stephen use?

The computer is made up of three parts: a Lenovo X220 tablet PC, a custom black box containing various peripherals and the hardware voice itself. The computer features an Intel Core i7 processor along with a forward-facing webcam, which Stephen uses to place phone calls using Skype.
Underneath the wheelchair is the black box, which contains an audio amplifier, voltage regulators and a USB hardware key that receives the input from the IR sensor on Stephen's eyeglasses. The hardware voice synthesizer sits in another black box on the back of the chair and receives commands from the computer via a USB-based serial port.

How does Stephen control what comes out of his voice synthesizer?

When I first met Stephen, he still had some use in his thumbs. In fact, he'd still attempt to drive his own wheelchair. He pinned me against the wall once [laughs]. He had basically a clicker, a binary switch that he held in his hand. He'd press it with his thumb to highlight the words or commands on the computer screen. He was typing at about one word per minute when I first met him. He was actually pretty snappy with it.
Over time the nerve that allowed him to move his thumbs degraded, and he had to find another way to communicate. They originally talked about using one of his pectoral muscles and putting a sensor there. He wasn't too thrilled with that idea.
What he's got now is an infrared sensor hanging off of his glasses. It basically detects the changes in light as he twitches his cheek. They call it the "cheek switch."

Stephen Hawking's New PC (via /.)