Scientists Plant to Hack Stephen Hawking's Brain

By Jamie Condliffe on at

A team of Stanford scientists has revealed that it plans to sit Stephen Hawking down in a room, place a device on his head, and literally hack his brain to work out what's going on in there.

The scientists, who have developed a tool called the iBrain (hey, imaginative!), will do this, on-stage, at a conference in Cambridge, UK, next month. Philip Low, a professor at Stanford and inventor of the iBrain, explains to the Telegraph:

"This is very exciting for us because it allows us to have a window into the brain. We're building technology that will allow humanity to have access to the human brain for the first time... We'd like to find a way to bypass [Stephen's] body, pretty much hack his brain.".

Hawking suffers from motor neurone disease and lost the power of speech nearly 30 years ago. The plan is to use the technology to recognise his high-level brain activity — which is presumably higher-level than most — in order to understand it and convert it into speech and movement.

While such technology has been in development for a long time, it's worked with mixed results. For it to be at a stage where Stephen Hawking is willing to sit on a stage to demonstrate its abilities — well, that could signal that something quite special is about to happen. [Telegraph]

Image by Associated Press/Lawrence Jackson