Facebook Hopes to Read Minds with Augmented Reality Glasses

Facebook Reality Glasses
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Facebook is currently working on augmented reality glasses that would help users type by monitoring their brain signals instead of using a keyboard.

The company said on Tuesday; it has made improvement since the project was first launched on stage at F8 in 2017. The goal of the work is to design a system that can decode silent speech without needing implanting electrodes into the brain.

Decoding a person’s brain

Researchers, including at the University of California, San Francisco, teamed up to examine whether it’s possible to decode speech from a person’s brain activity onto a computer screen. The researchers worked with three patients who are undergoing treatment for epilepsy. They designed an algorithm that can decode a small set of full, spoken words, and expressions from brain activity in real-time, according to a study issued not too long ago in the journal Nature.

Facebook says that working with brain surgery patients is far from the non-invasive approach they’re hoping for, though. To tackle the issue, Facebook Reality Labs, a segment that conducts a long-term study on technology products and related hardware, has been working with researchers from the University of California, San Francisco on trying other methodologies. For example, one involves trying to track brain activity by examining oxygen levels in the brain with a light, wearable device that is made from consumer-grade parts.

AG glasses
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AG glasses won’t be available soon

According to Facebook, they don’t expect this tech to be available to users anytime soon as it is currently big, slow, and unreliable. But the potential is promising, and they believe it’s worthwhile to keep growing this advanced technology over time.

Facebook writes in a statement, that while calculating oxygenation would never allow them to decipher imagined sentences, being able to identify even a handful of imagined commands, such as ‘home,’, ‘delete,’ and ‘select, it would open entirely new ways of interacting with today’s VR systems and tomorrow’s AR glasses.

They also credited the commercialization of optical technologies for smartphones and LiDAR. They think they can make small, fitting BCI devices that allow them to measure neural signals closer to those they currently record with implanted electrodes, and maybe even interpret silent languages one day.

This adds an exciting new wrinkle to Facebook’s planned AR glasses, which we still know little about. Michael Abrash, the Oculus chief scientist, said in 2017 that the glasses were at least five, but possibly ten more years away. Since then, much of what we know has come from intermittent patent filings. If Facebook does plan for the glasses to have mind-reading capabilities, then the 10-year timeline seems more fitting.

The vision of Facebook, a huge social media company that just hit with a record-breaking and whooping 5 billion fines for violating its users’ privacy is to be able to accurately perceive the thoughts in your mind, which many perceive as not interesting and welcoming. For what it’s worth, Facebook’s Reality Labs experts say they are already considering the moral effects of the technology, though they didn’t share any details.

Facebook wrote, and they said that it’s a tempting idea, but it needs an imaginative spirit, substantial amounts of determination, and an entirely open mind. M