Professor to ‘hack’ into Stephen Hawking’s brain

Scientists at Stanford University have created the iBrain, something that will help them translate brain waves onto a computer. As Stephen Hawking’s body fades, they are hoping to “hack” his brain directly.

There are several things I find hard to understand. Tennis’ Williams sisters, for example. Or why diesel prices can be $1 a gallon different a mere five miles apart.

The things that go around Stephen Hawking’s highly sophisticated brain, I wouldn’t even try to fathom.

However, scientists at Stanford, led by Dr. Phillip Low (who is also CEO of Neurovigil), are working with him in order to access his brainwaves directly.

The tool they are using they call iBrain. It is designed to take brainwaves and have them be communicated on a computer. It consists of a black headband that contains neurotransmitters.

The Telegraph reports that, at the Francis Crick Memorial conference in Cambridge, England, next month, Low may try to demonstrate the technology on Hawking himself.

“We’d like to find a way to bypass his body, pretty much hack his brain,” Low told the Telegraph.

Essentially, this is the latest experiment into mind reading.

Hawking has already used the technology.

Last summer, Low flew to England to meet with Hawking. He fitted him with the iBrain device and asked him to use as much of his brain power as he could to imagine he was scrunching his hand into a ball. The aim was to see whether his thoughts could be transcribed into words, through a series of signals.

At the time, Low told the New York Times: “We wanted to see if there was any change in the signal. And in fact, we did see a change in the signal.”

Low told the Telegraph that his brainwave technology “opens the possibility to link intended movements to a library of words and convert them into speech, thus providing motor neurone sufferers with communication tools more dependent on the brain than on the body.”

Hawking’s hand muscles are fading. He can, the Daily Mail reports, no longer use the clicker with which he formerly activated his voice machine.

He now has to operate a “cheek switch,” which means it takes several minutes for a message to be generated.

The iBrain has already been proposed as an alternative to sleep labs and the researchers behind it believe it may even be able to, one day, help with the treatment of depression and even autism.

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Comments

  1. Skeptically Inclined says:

    Hi. Though the posts on this site are at times pretty interesting, I’m finding the problem is that I’ve read most of them already on their originating sites.
    Isn’t ‘repurposing’ stories of this nature already pretty well covered by Disinfo?
    Sorry to moan, but I expected more from the site after all the hype.

    • Thanks for you comment.

      I am glad you enjoy the posts. To answer your question- Disinfo covers a different beat than us. They deal in more of the broader conspiracy memes, while we focus on the overlap of science, religion, and politics.

      We are in a passive state right now while we work out the logistics of our articles/videos, after which I will write more original content and begin to do interviews and podcasts :)

      Thanks for your interest.

  2. I’m sorry if I’m one of the few people who is not impressed by Stephen Hawking’s abundant speculations. He speculates their are innumerable alternate universes, that aliens are out there and they’re not friendly, etc. Has his “science” proven anything concrete or been applicable to technology?
    The people’s brains they should be using this kind of technology on would be idiot savants/autistic folks with photographic and audiographic memories. Those are the people who we could learn a lot from about genius.

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