Michio Kaku on Stephen Hawking and the wonders of the brain (video)

A brainy guy talking about the brain. Ain’t nothin’ better.

I’ve only seen Michio Kaku on TV a few times. My usual favorite brainy guy is Brian Greene.

And I don’t mean Mormon bigot Orson Scott Card.

Or that guy from 90210.

Rather, it’s this guy:

brian-greene

In any case, Kaku talked about a number of fascinating things, including the fact that Stephen Hawking has glasses with a computer chip in them that reads his brainwaves, and permits him to type.

Here’s Kaku explaining it to NPR:

Michio-Kaku

Michio Kaku

Stephen Hawking, my colleague, is totally paralyzed, and he has a chip in his right glass. Next time you see him on television, look in his right frame, and you see a brain sensor which picks up radio from his brain and allows him to type mentally.

From my googling, that’s not exactly what I’m finding. What I did find was that the glasses have a chip that reads infrared from Hawking’s cheek, and that the movement of his cheek helps him put together words on a Google Glasses type screen in front of him.

Scientific American did say a year ago that Intel was helping Hawking come up with an improvement to the word processing setup, and that it would hopefully help him create 5 words or more per minute, versus the one word per minute that he can create now.  I had no idea he was only able to create one word a minute.  He apparently writes longer things, saves them, and then plays them back, such as when he gives speeches.  I suspect the TV spots we’ve seen of him must have been done this way as well.  I never realized.

Anyway, maybe Kaku is referring to something new that Hawking didn’t have at the time of the Scientific American story. Regardless, he’s an interesting speaker, and is able to explain complicated science to regular people, which is a pretty neat gift.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • Levi

    Radio waves which these smart guys invented helped in the development of the MRI which saves plenty of lives. These breakthroughs such as string theory help structure the foundation of science so that other breakthroughs such as the MRI are able to be thought of.

    In other words one day someone will use a breakthrough thought of by these smart guys to apply it to modern medicine once again.

  • ChemE911

    Too bad those smart guys can’t figure out why 1/10 kids have asthma and 1/55 kids have autism. They are more worried about multiple universes, it sells more books. Kaku promotes microwave radars, which are killing people

  • discobrake
  • HelenRainier

    Another one of my favorites — along with deGrasse Tyson, Hawking, and Cox.

  • carbonrider

    I believe that the equation we’re looking for, the one that unites all fields of physics together, can be done through a simple process. I know that there are 26 dimensionless constants of nature that we have observed and recorded. These are pure mathematical ratios that do not need a measurement system.

    My idea is that if we assign each constant to an axis on a 26 dimensional plane, we will end up with 26 points at their numerical values. If we then lace all vertices together, we end up with a 26 dimensional shape. This will, in effect, combine all that we know into a single entity, connected through higher dimensions. This is the ultimate goal with String Theory. Which, so far, has been able to combine thermodynamics with gravity when expressed in 8D.

    I believe that this 26D structure is the topological equivalent to this equation we’re looking for. Studying the surface and incidence matrix may allow us to make connections not previously known. And, in the end, provide a single expression that would truly contain everything.

    This way, we apply what we already know and build a single entity. The next process would be a non-perturbative analysis of an already existing structure, instead of making minute adjustments and amendments to make it work correctly.

    Philip

  • pappyvet

    Michio Kaku is one of my all time favorites. A true genius.

  • Dick_Woodcock

    I see Michio on Science Channel shows all of the time. One of my faves!

  • Dodgson

    Great interview. One of the few times that Stewart actually seemed unable to control or interfere with an interviewee. Kaku was incredible, I’m looking up additional info about him as soon as possible.

  • ComradeRutherford

    Kaku used to have a radio show on WBAI in NYC, and that’s where I first heard of him. I was so surprised to see his books on my dad’s bookshelf… I had ‘forgot’ that his book was available nationally…

  • http://liberawheeler.blogspot.com/ Elijah Jacob Shalis

    Michio Kaku is awesome, I follow him on facebook

  • Drew2u

    A long time ago there used to be a network called “Tech TV” and before it turned into the atrocious “G4″, it had phenomenal programming such as “Big Thinkers” which took awesomely intelligent people such as Michio Kaku and had them, essentially, wax philosophically. It was a brilliant show.
    I wish that program would come back and it makes me wish I had the Science Channel. (but seeing as how the last time I looked at the tv guide for the Science Channel it had back-to-back episodes of “aliens uncovered”, I’m afraid it’s turning into basic cable nonsense programming)

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