Facebook AR tech lets users type with their minds

Facebook AR tech lets users type with their minds
Facebook's tech could help patients with neurological disorders explain their diseases to doctors.
Published: 1 August 2019 - 4:58 a.m.
By: ITP.net Staff Writer

Facebook is in the process of developing an augmented reality brain-computing interface that, spokespeople claim, will help users type with their mind. 

The announcement to make a Brain Computer Interface (BCI) programme-outlining the tech and social media company's goal to build a "non-invasive wearable device that would let people type by simply imagining themselves talking"-was first made in 2017 at their F8 Developers' Conference. 

The programme reportedly follows research by Elon Musk's Neuralink revealing tiny brain "threads" in a chip which is long lasting, usable at home and has the potential to replace cumbersome devices currently used as brain-machine interfaces.

The intended device would reportedly support researchers at the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF), who have been working on helping patients with neurological damage speak by "detecting intended speech from brain activity in real-time." 

According to a blog post by the company, the UCSF research team published their progress so far, and the steps needed to be taken "to achieve fully non-invasive BCI as a potential input solution for AR glasses" in a journal titled Nature Communication, which included the need to translate "larger vocabularies with dramatically lower error rates."

Commenting on their current development process, Facebook's spokespeople said, "The promise of AR lies in its ability to seamlessly connect people to the world that surrounds them and to each other. Rather than looking down at a phone screen or breaking out a laptop, we can maintain eye contact and retrieve useful information and context without ever missing a beat." 

Facebook Reality Labs' (FRL) chief scientist Michael Abrash and team elaborated, "We are standing on the edge of the next great wave in human-oriented computing, one in which the combined technologies of AR and VR converge and revolutionise how we interact with the world around us."

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