Stanford professor works with Stephen Hawking to develop iBrain device

By on June 25, 2012, 7:00 PM

Stanford University professor Philip Low is developing a device that is intended to monitor brain waves from a human and convert them into letters, words and sentences. He has been testing what he calls the iBrain with world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking with the hope that it will one day allow him to communicate more easily.

The device, originally intended to be an at-home sleep monitor, could best be described as a work in progress. Daily Mail notes that Hawking was outfitted with a special black headband containing neurotransmitters and was told to think about scrunching his hand into the shape of a ball. Doing so was able to create a pattern on the device that Low hopes can one day be translated into written communication.

Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at the age of 21 during his time in graduate school at Cambridge. It’s uncommon for someone with this motor neuron disease to live more than 10 years after diagnosis but Hawking is an exception as he turned 70 earlier this year.

His condition has progressed slower than most, although he lost the ability to speak 30 years ago and is now almost entirely paralyzed. He has to rely on sensor inside his mouth to communicate which is becoming increasingly difficult as his condition continues to deteriorate.

Low is expected to share his findings at a conference next month where Hawking might even demonstrate the iBrain device for those in attendance.




User Comments: 12

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ikesmasher said:

Does anyone else think it will be awesome to watch everything that goes through your mind appear on paper?

by all means it goes to people like Hawking first. but..its awesome.

Im impressed.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

You would think that between a Stanford professor and Stephen Hawking, that they could come up with a better name than iBrain. Very cool concept though. I hope it works out.

KG363 KG363 said:

Next up, how to preserve a functioning brain and keep it alive. Again, test it on Hawking

ikesmasher said:

You would think that between a Stanford professor and Stephen Hawking, that they could come up with a better name than iBrain. Very cool concept though. I hope it works out.

theyd probably come up with someone 57 syllables long that we are barely able to pronounce.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

You would think that between a Stanford professor and Stephen Hawking, that they could come up with a better name than iBrain. Very cool concept though. I hope it works out.

theyd probably come up with someone [sic] 57 syllables long that we are barely able to pronounce.

I kind of like FL*GGȦ∂NK'€ČHI'βǾLʃÊN .

ramonsterns said:

Next up, how to preserve a functioning brain and keep it alive. Again, test it on Hawking

Robot body here I come.

Camikazi said:

Does anyone else think it will be awesome to watch everything that goes through your mind appear on paper?

by all means it goes to people like Hawking first. but..its awesome.

Im impressed.

Cool it would be but would I want it? HELL NO! I know what I think about and my thoughts would land me in jail or at least in a psychiatrists office :P

Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

Oh it has the letter "I" before it!? It must be good!

This is Fallout: New Vegas/Crysis 2 irl!

DanUK DanUK said:

I really do hope they get this off the ground in time. It would be such a shame/waste if Hawking was reduced to a brilliant mind but with no way of communicating (and the benefits this would bring to thousands of other people goes without saying).

war59312 said:

Yea I see Apple suing over the "I", real quick.

Guest said:

sweet now I can use pirate bay and down load it to my brain!

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