Facebook is working on a way to let you type with your brain

(VOVworld) - Facebook has unveiled a project to create a brain-computer interface that lets you type with your thoughts and hear with your skin. If it succeeds, the project will create a tool that will enable disabled persons to make contact without a phone.

Facebook is working on a way to let you type with your brain - ảnh 1

At an annual conference in the Silicon Valley last Wednesday, Facebook CEO Regina Dugan said her Building 8 team has gathered60 scientists and engineers to develop the technology.  Facebook showcased a video clip showing an Alzheimer woman using her brain to click on the screen and type at a low speed -8 words a minute. Dugan said Facebook’s goal is to create a system capable of typing 100 words per minute, straight from your brain, five-times faster than you can type on your smart phone.

Facebook is working on a way to let you type with your brain - ảnh 2

The Building 8 team started the project 6 months ago. It is now cooperating with US Researchers, who specialize in machine learning for decoding speech and language, building optical neuroimaging systems with advanced spatial resolution, and next-generation neural prosthetics. The plan is to eventually build non-implanted devices that can ship at scale. To tamp down on the inevitable fear this research will inspire, Facebook says this technology isn’t about decoding random thoughts. This is about decoding the words you’ve already decided to share by sending them to the speech center of your brain.

Building 8 is also working on a way for humans to hear through their skin. It’s been building prototypes of hardware and software that let your skin mimic the cochlea in your ear that translates sound into specific frequencies for your brain. This technology could enable deaf people to “hear” by bypassing their ears.

In the video, a team of Facebook engineers is shown experimenting with hearing through the skin using a system of actuators tuned to 16 frequency bands. A test subject was able to develop a vocabulary of nine words they could hear through their skin. Dugan says using neural imaging may be the only non-invasive approach capable of transmitting neural activity into inputs for electronic devices. This could involve some type of cap you wear on your head, but Dugan points out that this technology does not yet exist and would have to be developed over the course of many years.

Last December, Facebook signed contracts with 17 universities, including Harvard and Princeton, to promote the project. Facebook hired Dugan last year to lead its secretive new Building 8 research lab. She had previously run Google’s Advanced Technology and Products division, and was formerly a head of DARPA. While the technology does not exist today outside of very specific medical research trials, Dugan says her team is actively working to make it a reality.