Facebook’s mind-reading tech, codenamed Moonshot, will let you type with your brain

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Probably the last company you want to give full access to your brain to is developing tech that can do just that. Facebook envisions a future in which people will be able to type out words and send messages using only their minds with Project Moonshot.

In a blog post published this week, Facebook reveals the Moonshot project will soon become a reality thanks to new research. These new developments will allow users to make use of wearables such as augmented reality (AR) glasses, that let them interact with others without using a smartphone. It’s not the first time that we’ve heard about a project like Moonshot. The last time, though, it was going under the title Edgefield, and involved a headset rather than AR glasses. 

Probe your brain in the name of social media

“As Chief Scientist Michael Abrash and the team at Facebook Reality Labs (FRL) see it, we’re standing on the edge of the next great wave in human-oriented computing, one in which the combined technologies of AR and VR converge and revolutionize how we interact with the world around us — as well as the ways in which we work, play, and connect,” Facebook said in its blog post. 

We knew that Facebook is working on neural-interface tech, but we were sure it was some way off from realisation. In 2017, the company confirmed it was busy conducting research into typing with the mind only, and that Facebook wanted to create a silent speech system that can type 100 words per minute using only a person’s thoughts.

Although the tech isn’t completely new, this would be the first time that it is used for social conversation. Researchers have already found a way to do this with patients who are paralysed — but electrodes have to be implanted into the noggin for it to work. We don’t know about y’all, but we won’t allow Facebook to implant things into our brains. Heck, it’s a stretch that we’d let a Facebook Portal in the front door. The company has, however, said that it’s looking for a non-invasive way to implement the wearable tech. Riiiiight. 

No need to panic… yet

The research is still far from complete (luckily), but Facebook has started conducting tests. Human guinea pigs were able to respond to simple questions, such as “How is your room currently?” and “When do you want me to check back on you?” Simultaneously, machine learning algorithms were able “to decode a small set of full, spoken words and phrases from brain activity in real-time,” according to Facebook.

Facebook isn’t the only company working on neural-interface tech. Elon Musk’s startup Neuralink wants to link our brains to computers, and we feel more comfortable with Musk at the helm of possible future mind-control capabilities than we do with Facebook.

Source: Tech@Facebook blog

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Deputy Editor at Stuff. Nevermind the fancy title, I like writing about things that are cool. Like games, gadgets and sometimes even software. Depending on how cool it is.

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