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Sunday, April 11, 2004

Stephen Hawking Could Lose Unmistakable Voice

The Sunday Times: Hawking’s new battle: to save his Dalek voice

Stephen Hawking is a time lord who has always been in a race against the clock. Now the British cosmologist, paralysed with degenerative motor neurone disease, is engaged in a new battle to preserve his famous electronic voice.

Hawking believes that its metallic tones, reminiscent of a Dalek’s, are part of his identity. The sound, however, is produced by an antiquated circuit board. After nearly 20 years, the synthesiser is wearing out and modern software has not succeeded in replicating it.

“It’s a matter of some concern,” Tom Pelly, Hawking’s technical assistant, said last week. “You can’t buy the voice boxes any more. Individual components can be replaced when they blow, but if the actual voice chip went we’d be in trouble.”

It just wouldn't be right if he had a different voice. I do find it hard to believe that software can't recreate the voice.


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dave griffiths

The speech that comes out of most peoples PC sounds just like Stephen Hawking, so there's no problem there. I think you'll find that he just doesn't want to change his voice!
And as for the 'wearing out' nonesense, chips can be replaced and PCB boards rebuilt - he's not poor is he?

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