Facebook is currently developing a technology which will enable it to read your brainwaves so that you don’t have to look down at your phone to type emails, you can just think them.
And to achieve this, Facebook has assembled a team of 60 people, including machine learning and neural prosthetics experts, to enable such a system work.
It has also hired a brain-computer interface engineer and a neural imaging engineer to help create a system capable of typing one hundred words per minute – five times faster than you can type on a smartphone – straight from your brain.
The company’s head of innovation Regina Dugan disclosed this at Facebook’s developer conference F8 held on Wednesday in San Jose, California.
“In a few years’ time we expect to demonstrate a real-time silent speech system capable of delivering 100 words per minute,” or about five times faster than a person can type with a smartphone, Regina Dugan said.
Citing an example of a woman with ALS who had a pea-sized implant that could pick up on signals in her brain to allow her to type eight words per minute using the power of thought, Dugan said Facebook will develop a system that doesn’t require surgery to implant electrodes, so there isn’t cause for fear.
Instead, Facebook plans to develop non-invasive sensors that can measure brain activity hundreds of times per second at high resolution to decode brain signals associated with language in real time. “No such technology exists today; we’ll need to develop one,” she added.
To achieve this, it is looking at using optical imaging, lasers to capture changes in the properties of neurons as they fire to glean words straight from our brain before we say them. If these signals can be read, they can be transmitted silently to other people.
“It’s not about decoding random thoughts,” she said. “We’re talking about decoding the words you’ve already decided to share by sending them to the speech center of your brain.”
“You can text a friend without taking out your phone or send a quick email without missing a party. No more false choices.”