Steel Case for Professor Stephen Hawking's Speech Synthesizer

Made:
1985-1995 in Cambridge
maker:
Cambridge Adaptive Communication (CAC)
Stephen Hawking's voicebox. Detail of steel case used for voice synthesizer. Graduated black background. Stephen Hawking's voicebox. Detail view of name plate. Stephen Hawking's voicebox.
      Cropped detail for gallery use of steel case used for voice synthesizer. Graduated black Steel Case for Professor Stephen Hawking's Speech Synthesizer Steel Case for Professor Stephen Hawking's Speech Synthesizer Steel Case for Professor Stephen Hawking's Speech Synthesizer Steel Case for Professor Stephen Hawking's Speech Synthesizer Steel Case for Professor Stephen Hawking's Speech Synthesizer Steel Case for Professor Stephen Hawking's Speech Synthesizer Steel Case for Professor Stephen Hawking's Speech Synthesizer Steel Case for Professor Stephen Hawking's Speech Synthesizer Steel Case for Professor Stephen Hawking's Speech Synthesizer Steel Case for Professor Stephen Hawking's Speech Synthesizer

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Stephen Hawking's voicebox. Detail of steel case used for voice synthesizer. Graduated black background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Stephen Hawking's voicebox. Detail view of name plate.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Stephen Hawking's voicebox. Cropped detail for gallery use of steel case used for voice synthesizer. Graduated black
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Steel Case for Professor Stephen Hawking's Speech Synthesizer
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Steel Case for Professor Stephen Hawking's Speech Synthesizer
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Steel Case for Professor Stephen Hawking's Speech Synthesizer
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Steel Case for Professor Stephen Hawking's Speech Synthesizer
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Steel Case for Professor Stephen Hawking's Speech Synthesizer
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Steel Case for Professor Stephen Hawking's Speech Synthesizer
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Steel Case for Professor Stephen Hawking's Speech Synthesizer
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Steel Case for Professor Stephen Hawking's Speech Synthesizer
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Steel Case for Professor Stephen Hawking's Speech Synthesizer
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Steel Case for Professor Stephen Hawking's Speech Synthesizer
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Steel case for voice synthesizer. Part of communication equipment built for Professor Stephen Hawking to allow speech and communication by computer with the Internet, by Cambridge Adaptive Communication, 1985-1995.

In 1985 Hawking completely lost his voice after emergency windpipe surgery. Shortly after, he began to try a voice synthesiser and software that allowed him to select letters or preprogrammed words and phrases. The synthesiser hardware was adapted into a portable system hanging on his wheelchair.

With practice, Hawking was able to say about 20 words per minute (most people reach about 150). His synthetic voice became famous, and he later refused offers to ‘humanise’ it.

Details

Category:
Stephen Hawking Office
Collection:
Stephen Hawking’s Office
Object Number:
2021-561/21/1
Materials:
paint, plastic, plastic-covered electronic wiring, steel, textile and velcro
Measurements:
overall (laid flat): 110 mm x 520 mm x 370 mm, 1.5 kg
type:
voice synthesizer
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • container - receptacle
  • furnishing and equipment
  • sound device
credit:
On loan from Professor Stephen Hawking since 2000, accepted in lieu of Inheritance Tax by H M Government from the Estate of Stephen Hawking and allocated to the Science Museum, 2021.