Facebook developing keyboardless typing directly from human brain

Facebook developing keyboardless typing directly from human brain

Facebook developing keyboardless typing directly from human brain

Along with the obvious privacy implications associated with the world's biggest social network reading your brainwaves, one expert says that creating such a solution will require a major technological leap and take a lot longer that Facebook suggests.

But that system was done with an invasively implanted electrode array, and Facebook is looking for something that won't need any implants.

Speaking at the conference, Regina Dugan, who heads up Building 8, said the smartphone "has cost us something". For example, Stanford engineering professor Krishna Shenoy has demonstrated "neural prosthetics" that let people who can't move or speak type via brain signals detected by implanted sensors. "Similarly you have many thoughts, you choose to share some of them".

Dugan leads Facebook's mysterious research and development team known as Building 8.

"No such technology exists today; we'll need to develop one", said Dugan.

Such brain-computer interface technology now involves implanting electrodes, but Facebook wants to use optical imaging to eliminate the need to surgically intrude on brains, according to Dugan.

Facebook is turning its attention to "silent speech communications", working on a system that will let people type words on a computer using only their brains.

Dugan has previously headed Google's similar Advanced Technology and Projects Group; she was also the director of the Pentagon's DARPA research agency. The company said it intends to build both the hardware and software to achieve its goal, and has enlisted a team of more than 60 scientists and academics to work on the project.

She revealed that the human brain can stream four HD movies in one second, but posed the question on how we should get all that information out of the brain and into the world.

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. Their aim is to create a system that is capable of typing 100 words in a minute straight from your brain that too without burring a hole in your skull (like the traditional sensors that are directly connected to the brain). "Even a simple yes/no "brain click" would help make things like augmented reality feel much more natural", he added.

It'll work by skipping past the speech part of the brain altogether.

"We're talking about decoding those words, the ones you already chose to share by sending them to the speech center of your brain". Regina Dugan, head of Building 8, said this technology will use optical imaging (the use of light to look inside the body, as is done with x-rays) instead of any invasive gear.

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