Facebook poached Regina Dugan from Google, we knew the former DARPA chief would deliver something interesting: “Project: Type with your brain” is the first example of that. Announced at F8 2017 this morning, it’s a project to develop a silent speech interface, with the speed and flexibility of voice control, but the privacy of typing text. In effect, it’s about reading your mind and typing directly what you’re thinking onto the screen in front of you.
Facebook’s Building 8 chief said that it’s what her team is working on now, using non-invasive sensors.
They work, yes, and have allowed people with conditions that don’t allow them to move any of their limbs to interact with computers and even type, all by brain signal. However, it’s at a fraction of the speed of traditional typing.
The goal is 100 words per minute, straight from the speech center of the brain. “This isn’t about decoding random thoughts,” Facebook says of the project. “This is about decoding the words you’ve already decided to share by sending them to the speech center of your brain.”
The optical imaging sensors Facebook’s Building 8 is working on has quite the roster of experts tackling the challenge. Despite the project only being six months old, there are already more than sixty scientists, engineers, and system integrators, from UC San Francisco, UC Berkeley, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory, and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.