Brains behind Facebook’s ‘mind-reading’ tech worked with US defense
“It sounds impossible but it’s closer than you may realize.” These are the words of Facebook’s Building 8 head, Regina Dugan, as she talked about the company’s ongoing research with regards to building wearable and non-invasive devices that can be manufactured at scale, and would let users type out words by merely thinking them. They call this a “silent speech system.”
While the technology has been the subject of much buzz lately, it might interest people to know the brains behind this “brain-reading” innovation.
The group responsible for the technology is called Building 8, Facebook’s product development and research team. It is focused on making and shipping innovative products for consumers.
Dugan relates that the team follows the innovation engine model pioneered by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), an agency of the United States’ defense department which develops emerging military technologies.
But while DARPA focuses on proof of concept, Building 8 aims to create products that are accessible to consumers.
Dugan, also Facebook’s vice president of engineering, was formerly from DARPA. She later joined Google’s Motorola division in 2012 before finally joining Facebook in 2016, to head Building 8.
“Today and tomorrow this is our goal at Facebook, ‘to create and ship category-defining consumer products that are social first,’” says Dugan. “Products that recognize we are both mind and body. That our world is both digital and physical. That seek to connect us with the power and possibility of what’s new while honoring the intimacy and richness of what’s timeless.”
Apart from building a brain-to-computer interface, Building 8 is also working on a way to let people hear through their skin.
Check out Dugan’s presentation at the Facebook Developer Conference in the video below starting at 1:18:00. JB
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