While a team of Californian neuroscientists has just announced that it has succeeded in allowing a paralyzed man to write on a computer screen, thanks to an implant in the brain, Facebook for its part is giving up its research in this area.
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Facebook had worked with Dr. Edward Chang, head of the “neuroprosthesis” project at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), and announced in 2017 that it hoped to convert thoughts into text as early as 2019, with a headset (and without an implant). ).
Soon an order on the wrist?
In a long page welcoming the results of the UCSF, Facebook recalled on July 14 its work in this area (called BCI, for “brain-computer interface”, or “brain-computer interface”). The company announces that it will distribute this work in open source – free access for other researchers.
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However, she says, she will focus on the neural interface detecting nerve impulses from the wrist to convert them into commands. A method of interpreting signals (which as in the case of the paralyzed person writing on a screen, uses artificial intelligence to progress) called or electromyography (EMG).
Facebook announced this new project in March. There, the user could think of a movement of the fingers transmitting them to the computer, without having to actually do these movements – which would allow to go as fast or even faster than with a keyboard or a joystick.
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The bracelet necessary for this reading of “thought” movements will be connected to augmented reality glasses to allow interaction with this virtual environment as shown in the presentation video below:
What about the brain-machine connection? In the long term, the social network continues to believe in its potential, and the experience of UCSF shows its interest, but the company considers it still very distant, explains Mark Chevillet, who was in charge of the project at Facebook, at The Register tech news site. A dream that remains that of Elon Musk, the boss of Tesla and SpaceX, when he is not thinking of colonizing Mars.