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Here's how SwiftKey assists Stephen Hawking in communicating better

SwiftKey announced on its blog today that its service was a part of the communication system used by Stephen Hawking. The team at SwiftKey collaborated with Intel in building a bespoke system that allowed the scientist to communicate better.

In the blog post, SwiftKey stated:

Professor Hawking has motor neurone disease and as such is only able to communicate by using a small sensor which is activated by a muscle in his cheek. He uses this sensor to 'type' characters and numbers on his keyboard. SwiftKey's technology has been integrated into his current system so that it can accurately predict whole words, rather than just characters. That means that the time and effort Professor Hawking requires to type is significantly reduced, allowing for a much easier, speedier experience for him.

SwiftKey also noted that it built a unique language model for Hawking based on his extensive works that is tailored to provide contextually relevant words. The aim with the model created for Hawking was to minimize typos so that the scientist can "write and speak with greater ease for longer periods."

While smartphone users are often typing short messages, tweets, and e-mails, Professor Hawking uses his system not just for conversation, but to write entire books and lectures. With our integration into Intel's system, when Professor Hawking opens such a document, our technology specializes its language models to the document at hand, to ensuring an even easier writing experience.Professor Hawking's keyboard is divided into two sections made up of letters and of digits and punctuation. He uses his sensor to select the particular section he'd like to use which means the time and effort of each character is subsequently very high.With SwiftKey's technology a single movement detected by the sensor can predict a whole next word, rather than just the next character, resulting in a much improved, faster typing experience.

SwiftKey also increased the number of next-word possibilities to make it easier for Hawking to write:

In contrast to SwiftKey's consumer apps, which offer three predictions, for Professor Hawking there are always ten possible predictions to choose from. The increased number is to allow for a greater number of potential next-word possibilities.

SwiftKey mentioned that its language model "roughly doubled Professor Hawking's speech rate, and is continuing to learn and adapt."

Source: SwiftKey

Harish Jonnalagadda
Harish Jonnalagadda

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor covering Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone manufacturers, and writes about the semiconductor industry, storage servers, and audio products. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.

36 Comments
  • That's really awesome!
  • That's good and pretty cool but SwiftKey is highly overrated. Fleksy is my personal favorite, at first it was a bit getting use to it but now I get the hang of it and I type much faster and more innovative then SwiftKey. They should improve their iOS version. IPads don't even get Swift flow which is subpar, and have to resort to use Swype but that had issues in its own Posted via the Android Central App
  • To each their own I guess. I used Fleksy for a good month, I got used to the gestures and really did like it as a "type fast corrector". However, I found that it did not have a good grasp of contextual prediction. Mind you, normally I just type fast anyway so sometimes I even use the Google Keyboard so Fleksy has its uses in my book. Just in my opinion, when I last used Fleksy anyway, the prediction engine seems like it predicts off what you type only without a deep contextual approach and when it tries it's wrong. The ability to swipe is nice too but SwiftKey's Flow is so behind, even Google Keyboards so I won't call it a plus lol. Posted via Android Central App
  • I've tried Fleksy, but thought it wasn't nearly as intuitive as SwiftKey. The latter is my staple and with the new "Material" themes there really is no excuse not to use it if you have Lollipop. It blends right it. Personally, I like Minimal Black, but that's just me.
  • Dude, seriously? What you're saying has nothing to do with the article. Go leave comments like this in the Play Store.
  • Wtf dude...... Its about helping a genius with a serious disorder..... Not your opinion on Swiftkey... The people in this world boggle me..smh Posted via the Android Central App
  • Amazing Posted via Android Central App
  • Very cool Posted via the Android Central App
  • Very cool. Posted via the Android Central App
  • That's pretty awesome. I hope it helps makes this tech practical for more people who need it. Posted via the AC App on my LG G3
  • But does he use emoji?
  • B|
  • That's what you get if you start with an I and continue to tap the middle suggestion: I am willing to help you translate Battery to my language and culture of the most important thing is that the only thing I think would be awesome to see if you are looking for a while back and forth between the two of the most important thing is that the only thing I think would be awesome to see if you are looking for a while back and forth between the two of the most important thing is that the only thing I think would be awesome to see if you are looking for a while back and forth between the two of the most important thing is that the only thing I think would be awesome to see if you are looking for a while back and forth between the two of the most important thing is that the only thing I think would be awesome to see if you are looking for a while back and forth between the two of the most important thing Mind explosion Posted via the Android Central App
  • My turn. I am logged on with my M8 for my wife's candy molds Read Clothes Ebay and I will be coach of 6-7 Boys Basketball game is at the same time on the phone with Nationstar tomorrow morning at the same time on the phone with Nationstar tomorrow morning at the same time on the phone with Nationstar tomorrow morning at the same time on the phone with Nationstar tomorrow morning Posted via the Android Central App
  • My turn. Oh wait! I accidentally tilted my phone, so I'll have to wait for an hour or two until the rotation lag is completed....
  • Lol Posted via the Android Central App
  • It would love the best way of my mom said he said he said he said he said he said he said. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I would love the best way of your mom too! That's what she said she said she said she said.
  • I apologize for the late text me tell you that I am proficient in that case I need to be complimented continously the late text me tell you that I am proficient in that case I need to be complimented continously the late text me tell you that I am proficient in that case I need to be complimented continously the late text me tell you that I am proficient in that case...... Posted via the Android Central App using my Galaxy Note 4 from Sprint
  • I am not nice to the first time to troll the first time to troll the first time to troll the first time to troll the first time to troll the first. - Google keyboard. I'm off to troll the first! Wubba lubba dub dub!
  • Now we know what you do hahah :D Posted via the Android Central App
  • Lol I'm stuck with "the". Posted via Android Central App
  • That's awesome!
  • Another reason I have felt love for SwiftKey since it came out. Have tried others and still come back. Now that the man is using it it makes it that much sweeter! Really cool story! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Stephen Hawkins is a brilliant man. But, he is also an evil mean anti-Semite. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Do you have sources? That's the kind of claim that requires evidence. Boycotting Israel is not necessarily driven by anti-Semitism. Wubba lubba dub dub!
  • Good thing this article is about Stephen Hawking and not Stephen Hawkins.
  • The idea of adapting the technology for people with disabilities is great. I like that it has more predictions and customized predictions for his work. I hope they are working to make this available to more people.
  • That's Awesome Posted via the Android Central App
  • very cool!
  • Well done SwiftKey. Great work! Awesome AC.
  • This article made me feel good. :)
  • But has Hawking used the phrase, "Damn you, autocorrect"? Posted via Android Central App
  • Cool! I hope you had a great birthday and Thanksgiving day bump on you and your family been using your app gave up when they ran into problems and now just use the html session on their phones browser and it will act the way you said you were at dance til about 7 this morning and thought it must have been meant for someone else until the driver told me about rather nasty emails they sent to you when they didn't get a response back right away but everything is at a crawl space for the info needed at your earliest convenience to discuss the details of the problem you experienced in the morning for sure Then depending on whether they win or lose they will play at 2 or at 3 in the morning for sure Then depending on whether they win or lose they will play at 2 or at 3 in the morning for sure Then depending on whether they win or lose they will play at 2 or at 3 in the morning for sure Then depending on whether they win or lose they will play at 2 or at 3 in the morning for sure!
  • That's fantastic! It's good to see technology being used to help the disadvantaged. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Made a very important ( revolutionary and unpublished ) discovery - invention-the1.first practical device for reading human thoughts / human mind reading machine / Brain Computer Interface. This discovery is certainly ( exclusive ) exceptional, revolutionary nature! In particular, I have created a means for people with Locked - in Syndrome ( LiS ) and ALS ( such as British physicist Stephen Hawking problem ). But I can't publish my discovery ( I can't protect their copyright ) and I invite partnership. Thank you. Сурен Акопов. Email : tyristcheget@gmail.com / About the problem look for example in You Tube :
    1.Jack Gallant, human mind reading machine;
    2.John - Dylan Haynes, human mind reading machine;
    3.Tom Mitchell and Marcel Just, human mind reading machine.
    I should note that the device for communication that uses Stephen Hawking is not the right way Human mind reading machine!