Have you ever imagined a world where you would just think things and they would happen? For example, you thought to send a happy birthday message to your grandmother and your phone does it automatically? Well, this concept seems to be coming closer to becoming reality very soon. In 2017, Facebook decided to create a device which would use your thoughts to type. So whatever you were thinking at that moment would be typed out by Facebook’s new brain-computer. Now Facebook has started to show how far they have come with this invention and how soon consumers can have it in their hands. It is something that will revolutionize technology as it will let the disabled speak and make our daily lives much easier.
Facebook says that they are in collaboration with scientists and researchers at the University of California to work on this new invention. They stated that they want to connect the world without any limitations whether they are geographical, physical or mental. They want to make the world instantly accessible and completely hands-free. So with collaboration from researchers, Facebook is trying to build a device that will let patients with neurological diseases have a voice again by examining their brain’s activity in real-time.
An experiment was conducted by the researchers where a neurological patient who had been surgically implanted with electrodes on the surface of his brain was asked to answer questions aloud. Around 61% of the time, the computer was able to comprehend and present the correct answer through brain signals alone. Researchers now believe that this could have a real impact on society as it would enable those who cannot speak to now have a voice and share their opinion with the world too.
However, there is much more work to be done. Right now the project is just at the beginning stage where it is starting to take form. What the researchers aim to achieve will take many years of trials and practice. The researchers want to decode around 100 words per minute with a vocabulary of 1000 words, and they want less than a 17% chance of error. This is a huge goal for the researchers and if this is achieved, it could transform the technological world.
However there are a few downfalls too, the procedure is surgically invasive, which in itself is a huge risk. This is a different model compared to the one aimed for normal consumers which will be manual headsets. Also in the initial trials, there was very limited vocabulary that was tested which means very limited answers could be provided. It leaves a great deal of scope for improvement. This device will take many years to be completed and to reach the consumers and patients, and will need much more money and effort to become a reality.