Facebook revealed last week at their F8 Developers Conference that they are close to a typing breakthrough. One that would allow testers to type straight from their brain at 100 words per minute. Sounds crazy, right? Well, not to the team of over 60 researchers, scientists, and engineers making this technology a reality.
What’s the Purpose?
Facebook advises that their focus is on developing non-invasive devices to be developed into a speech prosthetic. This would target individuals with communication disorders. Further down the road, Facebook has stated they would like to provide for everyday consumers too. Eventually, we will all be retrofitted with a device that would allow us to type 5 to 10 times faster than with our fingers.
Mark Zuckerberg commented on these projects, stating “Even a simple yes/no ‘brain click’ would help make things like augmented reality feel much more natural.”
Regina Dugan, VP of Engineering at Facebook’s secretive Building 8 research center, states, “Over the next 2 years, we will be building systems that demonstrate the capability to type at 100 wpm by decoding neural activity devoted to speech.” Dugan, who is also the former director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) continued: “It sounds impossible but [this technology] is closer than you may realize.”
What’s Next from Facebook?
As for hearing through your skin, that technology may still be a bit farther away. However, it is still something that’s being researched by Building 8.
Dugan said that “we have two square meters of skin on our body that are filled with sensors, and wired to our brain.
Her team is currently working on a totally new “haptic-vocabulary.”
That means that it would be interfaced with the skin, like a form of braille. This goes beyond bumps on your fingertips, though.
While the “hearing via skin” tech is still distant, the “neurological typing” tech will be mainstream reality within the decade.
Whether a promise for the future or the beginning of a dystopian novel, its widespread use is just around the corner.
Additional information about these technologies and more can be found at the F8 Developers Conference website: https://www.fbf8.com/
(Image Source: iCLIPART)