Facebook has a developed a prototype device similar to a wristband that allows users to control computers with their brain through the translation of motor signals coming from the brain into the digital object.
This wristband, currently bearing no name, primarily looks like some iPod on a strap that uses multiple sensors to detect movements the user intends to make. It further utilizes electromyography (EMG) to interpret electrical activity from the motor nerves as they send information from the brain to the hand. According to Facebook, this device would allow you to navigate augmented-reality menus by just merely thinking about moving your finger to scroll. In a nutshell, you can do multiple actions by just thinking instead of making gestures.
This is truly the next step in advancing Augmented Reality as previous implementations such as Google Glass and Snap Spectacles despite having nearly the same functionality were not user-friendly. Augmented Reality has truly made some spectacular leaps and bounds, starting from the most successful and iconic version of it called ‘Pokemon Go’ to now utilizing brain signals.
Currently, the device is still under research and testing at the company’s internal Facebook Reality Labs. However, it is to be noted that the development of this device began when Facebook acquired a startup called ‘CTRL-labs’ in September 2019 for around nearly $1 billion. The device was initially overseen by CTRL and its head Thomas Reardon who is now currently operating as the Director of Neuromotor Interfaces at Facebook Reality Labs.
At a press preview, Reardon said the device was “not mind control.” He added, “This is coming from the part of the brain that controls motor information, not thought.”
For quite a while Facebook has been positioning itself well in the AR domain. On March 9, Facebook announced that its glasses would be responsive to immediate surroundings—walking past your favorite coffee shop might trigger the glasses to ask if you want to place an order. Facebook says it will reveal its own haptic gloves and other wearables later this year.
Moreover, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has personally invested a lot in augmented and virtual reality as he believes that these products can mean access to countless valuable data points, hence making the world more accessible.
Source: MIT Technology Review