Facebook Working On Brain-Computer Interface

21 April, 2017, 04:36 | Author: Cecelia Webb
  • Illustration by James Bareham  The Verge

Facebook is working on a new "silent speech" technology that will allow people to type directly with their brains, drastically reducing the time it takes to convert our thoughts into written words.

These dreams are still far from reality and Facebook's success isn't certain although Dugan said she was optimistic.

During the second day of Facebook's annual F8 developer conference, Regina Duggan, vice president of Engineering and head of Building 8, asked: "What if you could type directly from your brain?" Dugan, who has previously worked at Google, Motorola and Darpa, was hired by Facebook previous year to lead Building 8.

The social media giant has built a team of 60 people, including machine learning and neural prosthetics experts, to develop the system within its Building 8 unit, which focuses on building new hardware products.

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.

At the same time, these efforts raise hard questions related to patient privacy, as any brain-to-text system will essentially read a person's unspoken thoughts. Researchers at Stanford University, for example, have shown that a brain-to-computer interface can enable people with paralysis to type via direct brain control, using electrode arrays placed in the brain to record signals from the motor cortex that controls muscle movement. The fact that Building 8 just formed past year and already has two promising projects in the prototype state speaks volumes about the researchers behind it Dugan herself, whose history includes tenures with Alphabet and the United States Department of Advanced Research And Projects, also known as DARPA.

Facebook also is working on a way for people to hear through their skin.

Our brains produce data to stream 4 HD movies in a second. "We want to do this with non-invasive, wearable sensors that can be manufactured at scale".

The report adds that Dugan said the technology won't be invading people's minds, it would just decode the words that people "already made a decision to share by sending them to the speech centre" of their brains. "I know this is out here", Schroepfer said to the crowd, adding that Regina Dugan would be on stage soon to explain this next-level concept in greater detail.

She said: "Even something as simple as a yes-no brain click would fundamentally change our capability". "One day, you may choose to share your thoughts independent of language", she says, suggesting that just because you don't share a language with someone, that needn't mean you can't communicate with them.

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