Facebook is working on brain-controlled technology

Facebook Wants To Build Direct Brain Interfaces For Virtual Reality

The technology could help disabled people, Ms. Dugan said, showing a video of a woman with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease or ALS, who is able to slowly type with her brain through a project at Stanford University.

He made the announcement at F8, Facebook's developer conference, where he unveiled a host of new augmented-reality technologies that let users superimpose digital objects on the real world using a smartphone camera. Specifically, the company is looking to create an interface that can spit out 100 words per minute. And nothing is more promising or intriguing than what's coming out of Facebook's mysterious Building 8 (B8).

According to Reuters and The Verge, the project is in the works at the social network's Building 8 research group, a division led by former DARPA director and Google executive Regina Dugan, and was formally announced during a presentation at Facebook's F8 developer conference.

"We are working on a system that will let people type with their brains".

"One day, I believe we'll be able to send full, rich thoughts to each other directly using technology", he said during a Q&A two years ago.

However, Dugan emphasised that they are not discussing decoding one's random thoughts, but thoughts that people would actually like, much like the photos they decide to share online. The computer figures out what she is thinking and types it on the interface, around eight words per minute.

Currently, people using brain implants are capable of typing eight words per minute, she said, and Reuters noted that the company's goal is to partner with researchers at universities across the U.S. to make a non-invasive interface capable of typing 100 words per minute by thinking.

Facebook stated that its Building-8 team is also working on a technology that would allow hearing impaired people to hear through the skin. "Understanding semantics means that one day you may be able to choose to share your thoughts independent of language", Dugan said.

"We're talking about decoding those words, the ones you've already chose to share by sending them to the speech center of your brain: a silent speech-interface with all the flexibility and speed of voice, but with the privacy of typed text", Dugan says-something that would be invaluable to an always-on wearable like a light, glasses-like AR headset.

In principle, the system would work using non-invasive sensors that can measure brain activity hundreds of times per second in order to decode brain signals related to language in real time. The human brain streams 1 terabits per second although speech is transmitted at 40-60 bits per second, said Dugan who described speech as essentially a lossy compression algorithm.

Even though Facebook has nearly 2 billion users, CEO Mark Zuckerberg is investing massively in ideas such as virtual reality to make sure that the social network is not brushed aside by new and modern technologies.

"Even something as simple as a "yes/no" brain click, or a "brain mouse" would be transformative". But the system that Facebook hopes to build wouldn't be invasive, relying instead on the use of sensors.

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