Facebook's Regina Dugan at the F8 conference
Johannesburg - Facebook is working on a system that will allow people to type text using their brain waves.
The announcement was made at the Facebook F8 annual conference in California, which is intended for developers and entrepreneurs who build third-party products and services around the social network.
Regina Dugan, who heads up Facebook’s research lab Building 8, said the goal is to create a silent speech system capable of typing 100 words per minute straight from the brain.
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“That’s five times faster than you can type on a smartphone today. This isn’t about decoding your random thoughts. Think of it like this: you take many photos and choose to share only some of them. Similarly, you have many thoughts and choose to share only some of them,” Facebook said in a blog post.
“This is about decoding those words you’ve already decided to share by sending them to the speech centre of your brain. It’s a way to communicate with the speed and flexibility of your voice and the privacy of text. We want to do this with non-invasive, wearable sensors that can be manufactured at scale,” the post read further.
The research lab is also working on a project directed at allowing people to hear with their skin, and is building the hardware and software necessary to deliver language through the skin.
At the F8 conference, Facebook also announced Spaces, the new VR app where users can hang out with friends in a virtual environment as if they were in the same room.
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The app launched on Tuesday and is in beta for the Oculus Rift, VR headset.
“With Facebook Spaces, you can view Facebook content with friends in VR, including 360 degree videos and photos that can transport you to new places. You can draw in the air with a virtual marker to create anything you can dream up, from a decorative hat to a handmade tic-tac-toe board,” Facebook said.
“Facebook Spaces lets you easily phone a friend in the real world with Messenger video calling, so you can bring even more people into your VR space. They can answer your call on their phone to instantly open a window into your virtual world. Of course, there’s a selfie stick too. Use it to take photos of your experience and share the memories you create in VR with your friends on Facebook,” the company added.