Facebook research teams working on leading-edge communication technology


Facebook science fiction projects
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MIT Technology Review recently published a piece on Facebook’s futuristic plans involving technology: typing with the mind and hearing with the skin.

As part of its self-proclaimed ambition of “connecting the world”, Facebook is working on futuristic gadgets in special projects to change the way we communicate. Two of these projects were showcased by MIT’s Tech Review in late April. At Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference, the company revealed these two of its six science-fictional projects that are currently underway.

The first is a type of noninvasive brain-machine interface, in the form of a cap or headband, that enables people to text simply by thinking. The objective is to develop a system that picks up speech signals inside the brain and lets people silently turn those thoughts into text at a speed of 100 words per minute, says project leader Mark Chevillet. “We just want to be able to get those signals right before you actually produce the sound so you don’t have to say it out loud anymore,” he says. Facebook is working on the project with Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, San Francisco.

The second project focuses on enabling people to recognize words with their skin, drawing inspiration from Braille and Tadoma – a method of communication in which deaf-blind people place a hand on the face of another person to feel the vibrations and air as the other person speaks. The system uses actuators strapped onto the arm that are used to tap the different words.

Source: MIT Technology Review