FACEBOOK IS continuing to boggle minds at its annual F8 conference, having announced that it is working on technology that will allow users to ‘type' with brainwaves.
The mysterious ‘Building 8' project (Facebook's Google X) is working on an interface to make it possible to think your typing, according to Head of Building 8 and former DARPA director Regina Dugan.
She believes the result could "fundamentally change" the way we interact with technology.
At the moment it's a pipe dream that would overcome some of the problems of augmented reality. After all, you can wear the stupid hat, but you can't type with it and virtual keyboards are not without their own problems, hence the idea of a "brain mouse for AR".
"Implanted electrodes simply won't scale," said Dugan. "We think optical imaging is the best place to start."
Facebook believes that the same technology could also be used to power devices for severely paralysed patients as a "speech prosthetic".
This is all a long way off. After all, the current standard for thought-to-speech is about eight words-per-minute. It is also keen to point out this won't be some sort of horrific Black Mirroresque implant - this is an exercise in augmentation that won't monitor thoughts - so Facebook won't be able to use it to sell you stuff, thankfully.
The team working on the project comes from a wide selection of trusted names in medicine including John Hopkins Medicine and Applied Physics, Washington University School, UC San Francisco and US Berkeley.
It is hoped that a trial product aimed specifically at the medical and paralysis side of the project will be available within two years. MIT is already working on similar tech, as is Stanford.
As if that post-modern sense mashup wasn't enough to be getting on with, the company has also revealed it is working on a method of ‘hearing' through skin. µ
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