Facebook experts say the technology could be useful in particular as an aide for people with communication disorders.
We learned from Business Insider today that Facebook is now working on some seriously incredible new technology.
At the event, Facebook revealed it has a team of 60 engineers working on building its ambitious brain-computer interface. Dugan, who has previously worked at Google, Motorola and Darpa, was hired by Facebook a year ago to lead Building 8. "We're working on a system that will let you type straight from your brain about 5x faster than you can type on your phone today".
60 engineers are now working on the technology from clandestine Building 8 - Facebook's innovative product research and development hub. Now Facebook is developing a silent speech interface with the 'speed and flexibility of voice with the privacy of text.' Facebook also clarified they are creating the technology to discern between your private thoughts and those you want to share.
"Technology is going to have to get a lot more advanced before we can share a pure thought or feeling, but this is a first step".
Dugan referred to research at Stanford University, which has allowed a paralysed woman to type at about eight words per minute directly from her brain. The executive has previously headed an advanced technology and projects group at Google and was earlier director of the U.S. Defense Department's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The technology could be used to help deaf people communicate, but Facebook also envisions it as a way to advance communications for people who can already hear, allowing for such things as a conversation to be automatically translated into another language. "Understanding semantics means that one day you may be able to choose to share your thoughts independent of language", Dugan said. She said in her keynote that the planting of electrodes in the brain was not scalable and Facebook was looking instead at non-invasive sensors.
This won't be about dippping in and out of your brain and "decoding random thoughts" in your head, she claims, as you're intention to formulate the words has already been sent to the speech centre of your brain, from where that information is taken to appear on screen.
"Even something as simple as a yes-no brain click would fundamentally change our capability", she added. She goes on to say that in a few years time, the team expects to demonstrate a real-time silent speech system capable of delivering a hundred words per minute.