Facebook is Building a Neural Sensor to Read Human Mindsby Puja Das January 1, 2021
After disclosing the idea at its 2017 developer conference, it seems like Facebook is closer to making its brain-reading computer a reality with the help of artificial intelligence (AI). One year after the social media giant announced its funding research on brain-machine interfaces, the company now claims to be working on a technology that can pick up thoughts directly from neurons and translate them into words.
Initially, Facebook aimed to help patients with paralysis, by decoding their brain signals and enabling them to speak their thoughts without ever having to move a muscle. Now it is becoming a longer-term goal of giving people the ability to control digital devices ranging from keyboards to augmented reality (AR) glasses using the power of thought alone.
Facebook in 2019 acquired a company named CTRL-Labs that makes mind-reading technology. The company makes a wristband that is said to decode electrical signals from the brain. CTRL-Labs claims that a human will be able to control a computer using thoughts by wearing the wristband.
Facebook Reality Labs, focused on long-term tech products and hardware, has been working with researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, on the technology. A 2019 study published in the Journal Nature Communications showed how researchers could use the brain-computer interface to decode speech directly from the human brain onto a screen.
How Facebook’s Neural Sensor will Read Human Minds
BuzzFeed News reported, Facebook announced its plans to develop a new neural sensor at its yearly meeting. Details were not available for public, but BuzzFeed News said it managed to gain an audio recording that was broadcast to all employees. It conveyed that Facebook has revealed some serious plans that are linked with upgrades in the AI category, as the company ends a predictably difficult year with even tougher events that posed a challenge.
The neural sensor that is Facebook likely to develop uses the resources of CTRL Labs. As per the report, the sensor will take the neural signals from the brain through the spinal cord and arms, and right to the wrist. It will allow users to make physical actions based on their thoughts. Facebook claims that it will help users holding a virtual object, typing, and controlling a character in a video game.
This technology is similar to the nascent brain-reading technology developed by Elon Musk’s Neuralink Company. Facebook is expanding its range to cover even more AI-infused products, including the new summarising app for news articles.
Facebook is even using artificial intelligence for several matters, from curbing the spread of misinformation on its social media platforms to removing hate speech, along with scanning political content. The social media behemoth is pegging AI as the panacea for all the problems that it has faced and will likely deal with shortly. Mike Schroepfer, CTO of Facebook said to BuzzFeed News, “We are paving the way for breakthrough new experiences that without hyperbole will improve billons’ lives.”