Facebook will soon let you type with your brain

Adjust Comment Print

Hearing through your skin?

The lid has been lifted on the work going on at Building 8, the home of its moonshot projects.

Regina Dugan recently took the stage at Facebook's annual F8 developer conference to talk about Building 8's newest pet project - a solution for brain-controlled typing.

Researchers at Stanford University have already used the interface to create a system that allowed a paralyzed patient to type eight words per minute using her thoughts, but Dugan said the goal is to develop the system to where it can let people type up to 100 words per minute. Its system will instead only decode words that a person has already chose to share by sending them to the speech center of their brain.

Not only could such technology allow users to send a text without actually physically touching their smartphone, but Dugan said that it could help disabled people communicate, Reuters said.

Earlier this week the Information reported that Building 8 has been working on a vibrating "haptic vest" as well as more generally augmented reality technology. "What if we could type directly from our brain into a computer?" "In many cases, they are not known", said Kit Walsh, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The world is getting weirder and Facebook is only adding to the conundrum by introducing mind-boggling technology and concepts that make you scratch your brain (quite literally).

If the tech firm is successful though, this system could also blur the lines between languages. It also breaks down what a word means.

Work under way in Building 8 "will one day allow us to choose to share a thought, just like we do with photos and videos", Facebook co-founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a post on his page at the social network. "English, Spanish, or Mandarin, your thoughts are the same".

There is a team of 60 working on the project, which has been ongoing for six months.

But Facebook isn't only focusing on what's in your head. They're also building an artificial cochlea (the part of your ear that translates vibrations into signals your brain can understand) that can be attached to the skin.

"We have only begun to scratch the surface of what is possible", she explained, before touting the example of the human brain.

Facebook is trying to reassure those people by stating that the project isn't about decoding random thoughts that flit through a user's mind.

At first blush, the question may seem like it's geared entirely at people without the use of their limbs, like those with Locked-in Syndrome, a malady that causes full-body paralysis and inability to produce speech.

'Another advantage will be that people will be able to communicate in other languages without needing to learn them, ' she said.

Comments