Type with your brain? Facebook's working on it

  • Type with your brain? Facebook's working on it

Type with your brain? Facebook's working on it

Facebook wants to read your mind.

"You have two square metres of skin on your body, packed with sensors, and wired to your brain". Now Facebook is developing a silent speech interface with the 'speed and flexibility of voice with the privacy of text.' Facebook also clarified they are creating the technology to discern between your private thoughts and those you want to share. "Speech is essentially a compression algorithm, and a lossy one at that", she said. That would require extremely precise optical imaging sensors, a technology that doesn't now exist. Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, meanwhile, is backing a company working on ways to link the human brain with technology.

"Implanted electrodes simply won't scale", Dugan said.

She showed the audience a video of a Facebook tester feeling "the acoustic shape" of words on her arm. So Facebook wants to create an artificial cochlea to create an entirely new "haptic vocabulary", Dugan said. "We are not talking about decoding your random thoughts", she said.

A few minutes ago at F8, we shared a project we're working on that will one day allow us to choose to share a thought, just like we do with photos and videos.Our brains produce enough data to stream 4 HD movies every second. "Words you have chose to send to the speech centre of the brain". Over time, though, brain interfaces could be a way to "think" a message rather than typing it, or send a text in the middle of a conversation, Facebook thinks. Another engineer had a tablet computer with nine different words on its display; as he tapped the different words-like "grasp", "black", and "cone"-the first engineer felt vibrations on her arm that corresponded with the words and was able to correctly interpret that she needed to pick up a black cone on the table in front of her".

Regina Dugan, who leads Facebook's Building 8 group, gave a remarkable marketing spiel on the company's efforts in shaping the future of human-computer interaction and imagining a future where you can control AR glasses with the brain. "Even something as simple as a "yes/no" brain click or a "brain mouse" would be transformative". Dugan adds that it's also possible to "listen" to human speech by using your skin.

"One day not so far away, it may be possible for me to think in Mandarin and for you to feel it instantly in Spanish", said Ms Dugan. Dugan and Facebook are actually making technology meant to do just that.

Though details on this project are slim, the social media company compared its new project with braille, which translates specific surface textures into words and is used by those who are visually impaired.

At the beginning of her talk, Dugan spoke of how smartphones have helped people connect with others around the globe, but caused us to neglect the world in front of us.

But Facebook signaled that it had widespread ambitions previous year when Dugan was hired and her new secret research lab, Building 8, was announced alongside hundreds of millions in funding.