Facebook has recently released a demo video showcasing how subtle neural signals are translated into actions using electromyography (EMG). This technology, according to Facebook Reality Labs, was made possible with patents acquired from their recent acquisition of CTRL-Labs. In the demo video, Facebook shows off advanced wristbands that enabled their users to perform actions like playing augmented reality games, swiping, clicking, and other actions you can perform when operating a computer or smartphone/device.
In a blog post published by Facebook Reality Labs, the wristbands are explained to work with trackers that track basic gestures with the help of the nerve signals that run along your arms. These gestures are called “clicks” as they are actions that should be done with ease, akin to making a simple click.
These bands have the potential to do a whole lot more in theory as Facebook reports that they can allow users to type on a virtual keyboard without actual physical buttons by tracking the nerve cells your brain sends to your fingers and sort-of predicting what you meant to type.
Facebook explains that the creation of these wristbands will totally change the manner in which humans and computers interact and place a majority of the experience on humans. This is however a minor update to how CTRL-Labs aimed to progress before Facebook acquired the company. The original EMG wristbands were proposed to enable users to perform a function like typing merely by thinking about moving your fingers instead of actually moving your fingers. However, we can expect to see improvements soon as Facebook plans to streamline interactions by infusing the wristbands to function with earlier announced augmented reality glasses.
Facebook has also warned that even though the EMG wristband reads neural signals, it should not be mistaken for a mind-reading technology. The Reality Labs pillar at Facebook has said that the wristband simply decodes signals sent from the brain to the wrist, these signals will belong to actions that your brain has already chosen to perform, and the signals at the wrist-level will be read by the wristband and translated into digital commands for whichever device you are operating at the time.
Despite this disclaimer, CTRL-Labs still maintain a stand to classify this technology as a somewhat brain involving interface, acknowledging that it cannot however be likened to Elon Musk’s Neuralink which hopes to successfully read neural signals directly from the brain and convert these signals into actions, in which case the only body parts undergoing any action would be the parts involved in reacting to the actions of the Neuralink.
We however expect Facebook’s EMG wristbands to collect a significant amount of data from its users in order to perform actions seamlessly.