Facebook Inc FB is developing a wristband device that translates motor signals from the brain into navigating augmented reality on a computer.
What Happened: Facebook showed a prototype on a virtual call with members of the media this week, according to a CNBC report.
The wristband uses electromyography (EMG) to interpret the information being sent from the brain to hand.
“You actually have more of your brain dedicated to controlling your wrist than any other part of your body, probably twice as many neurons controlling your wrist and the movement of your hands than is actually dedicated to your mouth for feeding and for speech,” said TR Reardon, director of research science at Facebook Reality Labs.
Why It Matters: Big tech companies are eager to develop virtual and augmented reality products and the competition is heating up. Last week Apple Inc AAPL announced plans to launch its mixed reality headset in 2022, a product that will compete with Facebook’s Oculus headset.
The prototype Facebook unveiled is a little different because it would allow the user to write or scroll through images on a computer screen by just thinking about it.
The idea is similar to a product in Elon Musk’s Neuralink startup that he claims has allowed monkeys to play video games with their minds.
What’s Next: Facebook is still in the early stages of development and doesn’t expect the products to hit the market any time soon.
“How these things sequence out in the market, when they show up — are things I don’t have crisp answers to. What we’re focused on is hardening these technologies,” said Mike Schroepfer, chief technology officer at Facebook.
(Photo by Facebook)
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