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'Brain-hacking' technology sought

June 24, 2012 at 9:54 PM

LONDON, June 24 (UPI) -- Stanford University researchers say they are working on a device that would allow them to "pretty much hack" into the brain of British genius Stephen Hawking.

Professor Philip Low and his colleagues at Stanford in California have been working with the disabled British theoretical physicist to develop technology that would enable them to communicate with Hawking through brain waves, The Daily Telegraph reported Sunday.

"We'd like to find a way to bypass his body, pretty much hack his brain," said Low, who invented the iBrain, which detects brain waves and communicates with them via computer.

Hawking, 70, has motor neurone disease that robbed him of his ability to speak nearly 30 years ago. He uses a computer to communicate but his condition is deteriorating.

The British newspaper said the researchers will provide an update on their work at a conference in Cambridge next month, and may demonstrate the technology on Hawking.

Low describes the research into biomarkers as an attempt to provide "a window into the brain."

"We're building technology that will allow humanity to have access to the human brain for the first time," he said.

"The emergence of such biomarkers 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."

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