By Alison Wilkinson & Kimberly Burnham
In 2015, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hinted that the company could be working on a telepathic communication device. “One day, I believe we’ll be able to send full rich thoughts to each other directly using technology,” Zuckerberg said. “You’ll just be able to think of something and your friends will immediately be able to experience it too if you’d like.”
During Facebook’s F8 developer conference keynote in April, the company revealed plans for a “brain-computer interface” which will be able to, at some level, read your thoughts.
“What if you could type directly from your brain?” asked Regina Dugan, who runs Facebook’s secretive “Building 8” project, during a keynote address at Facebook’s F8 developer conference. Dugan led Google’s Advanced Technology and Products team which developed modular smartphones, 3D-mapping devices and smart fabrics. She left last year to start a competing group at Facebook. In 2009, Dugan became the first woman director of DARPA, the Defense Department’s illustrious Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency responsible for the technology that led to the global positioning system, the stealth fighter and the Internet. Dugan specializes in a singular approach to innovation that seeks to combine scientific breakthroughs with product development.
During the keynote, Dugan confirmed speculation that Building 8 has been working on a “brain-computer interface” for several months. Building 8 caused a stir in the tech presses earlier this year, when it began posting jobs for the project. It used intriguing phrases to describe the hardware project, which would involve “neuroimaging” and “electrophysiological data” to create a “communications platform of the future.”
Dugan described the goal of the project as “something as simple as a yes-no brain click,” referring to it as a “brain mouse for [artificial reality].” She told the crowd that Building 8 hopes to use neural imaging technology to help people type 100 words a minute using their minds. People generally type about 20 words a minute using their smartphones. Facebook’s silent speech interface technology, which is still several years away, could aid people with
To read more, please continue to page 2.