Los Angeles: Facebook is working on a new ‘silent speech’ technology that will allow people to type directly with their brains, drastically reducing the time it takes to convert our thoughts into written words. The silent speech system will be capable of typing 100 words per minute straight from the brain—five times faster than one can type on a smartphone today, Facebook said.
At the annual two-day event F8, where developers come together to explore the future of technology—Facebook announced two projects focused on silent speech communications. “We shared a project we’re working on that will one day allow us to choose to share a thought, just like we do with photos and videos,” Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, said in a post. “Our brains produce enough data to stream 4 HD movies every second. The problem is that the best way we have to get information out into the world - speech - can only transmit about the same amount of data as a 1980s modem,” Zuckerberg said.
“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,” he said. “Eventually, we want to turn it into a wearable technology that can be manufactured at scale. Even a simple yes/no “brain click” would help make things like augmented reality feel much more natural,” he added.
“This isn’t about decoding your random thoughts. You take many photos and choose to share only some of them. Similarly, you have many thoughts and choose to share only some of them,” said Regina Dugan, head of Building 8. “This is about decoding those words you’ve already decided to share by sending them to the speech centre of your brain. It’s a way to communicate with the speed and flexibility of your voice and the privacy of text,” said Dugan.
“We want to do this with non-invasive, wearable sensors that can be manufactured at scale,” she said. Building 8 is the product development and research team at Facebook focused on creating and shipping new, category- defining consumer products that are social first, and that advance Facebook’s mission.
Products from Building 8 will be powered by a breakthrough innovation engine modelled after DARPA and shipped at scale. “We also have a project directed at allowing people to hear with their skin. We are building the hardware and software necessary to deliver language through the skin,” Facebook said.