Over the years Intel has has been working closely with Hawking to build him better hi-tech equipment and generally helping him to communicate. Hawking had an MND related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a condition that has progressed over the years. He was almost entirely paralysed and communicated through technology and mostly Intel gear.
A multidisciplinary team of researchers from Intel Labs was working with Hawking to replace his current communications system with modern technology. Hawking was instrumental in the design process, providing ongoing feedback, to help Intel improve the system with every iteration.
Intel issued an official statement after Hawking’s death: “RIP Professor Stephen Hawking, an expansive thinker who inspired us all. Intel is honored to have worked with him over the years and we are saddened by this news. Few people transcend their fields the way Professor Hawking did during his lifetime and he will be sorely missed.”
Pete Denman, Intel user experience designer said: “Stephen had a combination of tenacity and brilliance, but that’s not what made him special — at least to me. He was deeply kind and funny, and interested in people. He asked questions about you and interjected humor. I am going to miss him.”
Travis Bonifield, Intel engineer said: “There are among us those who chase their passion, no matter the cost, those who fight all odds to strive toward a goal, even a goal that may never be achieved. While these are generally somewhat unbalanced people, we look on them with admiration, respect and even awe. Not necessarily for what they achieve, but for their incredible will to pursue it in the face of impossible obstacles. Stephen Hawking was such a man. His body failed him, but he more than made up for it with his will to discover, to dream and to understand the universe around him.
“After most would have given up, Stephen pressed on with vigor and grace, and in so doing gave to all the precious gift of knowledge, which will continue making an impact long after those who knew him have passed away. It is so fitting that the day of Stephen’s passing, there is forecast to be a solar storm that will light up the northern sky and catch the attention of the world. Even the stars mark his passing with a requiem of light.”
Lama Nachman, Intel Fellow added: “Working with Stephen was the most meaningful and challenging endeavor of my life. It fed my soul and really hit home how technology can profoundly improve people’s lives. We will continue developing and refining this technology in the open source community in his honor, to reach all people in need. This is something he cared about deeply.