Facebook Shows Off Trick Neural Wristbands That May One Day Interface With AR Glasses
In March, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg went on a podcast to talk about the future of augmented and virtual reality. In his discussion, he explained that he wanted to see Facebook manufacture its own hardware and thought that the platforms would be the next big thing in tech. Furthermore, he explained that interacting with AR/VR worlds would require neural interfaces for human-computer interaction. Now, Facebook Reality Labs (FRL) Research is showing off technology in that vein.
As augmented reality and virtual reality technologies mature and develop, new ways of interacting with these platforms are needed. If the technology is used in public, it would be not easy to use voice commands or have a separate interface device such as a mobile phone. Thus, a seamless solution such as a neural interface is necessary to advance AR/VR usage out in the real world.
While an implanted system with AI may be a future concept, new HCI technology is needed. FRL has found something more realistic: a wrist-worn neural interface that could control an AR/VR system. Inside the device would be EMG, or electromyography, which would use sensors to “translate electrical motor nerve signals that travel through the wrist to the hand into digital commands that you can use to control the functions of a device.” These signals that run through the wrist are incredibly clear, according to the post, and EMG “can understand finger motion of just a millimeter.” This would make input seamless and effortless as well, which would be the ultimate solution.
FRL Director of Research Science Hrvoje Benko stated that the team “believe[s] our wristband wearables may offer a path to ultra-low-friction, always-available input for AR glasses, but they’re not a complete solution on their own.” It will have to be paired with intent prediction and user modeling, which adapts to the individual. In any case, it is a radical and extremely interesting technology development that we hope to see more of soon. If you want to read about the full technology, you can do so on Facebook’s blog. Also, let us know what you think of neural interfaces like this in the comments below.