Facebook will soon let you type with your brain

Illustration by James Bareham  The Verge

According to a report from CNET, the company's CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled Building 8 in last year's F8 developer conference.

Facebook revealed more details about its Building 8, and what sort of futuristic projects it is developing.

Currently, we know very little about B8, as none of their projects have been officially detailed, but rumors are swirling, and it's not like we don't know anything. It seems that B8 is working on four primary projects. And it's just the kind of fluid human/computer interface needed for AR.

Facebook is not the only company working on such a proposal, as billionaire Elon Musk investigates in a new company how to connect the human brain with computers. Interestingly and most importantly, Facebook would only decode the words you were going to say anyway.

At Facebook's annual F8 conference in San Jose, Regina Dugan - the former head of the US government's advanced technology division DARPA chief and Google executive who heads up the top secret Building 8 campus at the company's headquarters - confirmed what CEO Mark Zuckerberg had hinted at during his keynote address the previous day. Now, Dugan has finally released information about the work B8 has been doing.

Dugan showed an example use case of a person with ALS being able to type out messages using her thoughts.

Still, ethical and privacy issues abound with this research, with big questions around who would have access to the device signals and how they could be secured so that hackers couldn't literally read one's thoughts.

More so, the project is reported being initiated by Facebook's Building 8 team which is the same with Google's X division and as well as Amazon's Lab126, Building 8 is a clandestine development unit in charge with creating new modernization and innovations "Darpa-style" breakthroughs for Facebook. Our brains don't actually think in text, said Dugan.

"We can only speak at around 100 bps (bits per second), which is the bandwidth of a 1980s dialup modem", she said.

Schroepfer explained that Oculus Touch is an awesome piece of hardware, but asked the crowd to consider a world where you "skip" the controller all together and interact with virtual reality using nothing but your mind.

Brain-computer interfaces are nothing new. So what if you could type directly from brain? For reference, that's about twice as fast as the average typist, though some people are able to type far faster than that. 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). With Facebook's technology, humans can "feel" words.

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