Sir David Mackay Has Died Aged 48
Sir David Mackay, who sadly passed away on Thursday from cancer aged 48, is known in academic circles for writing a book titled Sustainable Energy: Without The Hot Air.
He was a professor at Cambridge University and was knighted in this year’s New Years Honours.
His Guardian obituary, however, reveals a lesser known fact about him:
David’s interest in human-machine interfaces led to his 1999 invention of Dasher, a keyboard-free text-inputting program that uses a predictive language model to allow users to write efficiently using eye movements, head movements or even breathing. In appearance, Dasher resembles a video game: the user navigates Star Wars-style by zooming through an expanding galaxy of letters. Now available in over 100 languages, Dasher has been downloaded 140,000 times, and has transformed the lives of many people with impaired mobility. One Dasher user with cerebral palsy has even used it to write his master’s thesis.
It is this that is most relevant to Same Difference. In tribute, we thank him for the difference he has made to the lives of countless disabled people. His invention of one small computer programme has allowed giant steps to be taken by so many who wouldn’t have had voices without it.