Scientists Try to 'Hack' Stephen Hawking's Mind

Stanford team wants to get around his motor neurone disease
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 25, 2012 6:15 PM CDT
Physicist and best-selling author Stephen Hawking appears, Saturday, June 16, 2012, in Seattle. Hawking was taking part in the Seattle Science Festival Luminaries Series.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

(Newser) – Imagine looking directly into Stephen Hawking's mind as he contemplates the universe. That's exactly what scientists are attempting with a tool called the iBrain, which detects electrical brain waves and conveys them to a computer, the Telegraph reports. "We'd like to find a way to bypass his body, pretty much hack his brain," says iBrain inventor Philip Low.

In part, the scientists want a direct route to Hawking's thoughts, to get around the motor neurone disease that's progressively making it harder for him to communicate by computer. They also want to promote a new technology that could have other medical applications, like helping doctors prescribe the right amount of medicine depending on a person's brainwaves. The team plans to unveil the iBrain at Cambridge University next month, maybe with Hawking as their guinea pig. (Read more Stephen Hawking stories.)

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