Facebook reveals augmented reality bracelets that read neural signals | Gadgets

Facebook has released details of the progress of an internal Facebook Reality Labs (FRL) Research project, where one or two bracelets are used to read the user’s neural signals and turn that information into a means of interacting with objects in augmented reality. The device also adopts artificial intelligence to improve the understanding of the entire system for the commands issued by the brain to the hands.

Facebook bracelet takes movements to augmented reality (Image: publicity / Facebook)

Facebook bracelet takes movements to augmented reality (Image: publicity / Facebook)

The video shows the concept, which reminded me a lot of how Microsoft’s HoloLens uses the user’s hands to click, in the form of “pinching” the air. The difference to the idea of ​​Facebook is in the form of capturing the gesture, which in the gadget of the social network is made by reading nervous impulses, while the glasses of the software giant have cameras and sensors with some resemblance to Kinect.

“What we’re trying to do with neural interfaces is to allow you to control a machine directly, using the peripheral nervous system – specifically the nerves outside the brain that animate your hand and the muscles of your fingers,” comments Thomas Reardon, director neuromotor interfaces on Facebook Reality Labs (FRL) Research.

Facebook chose bracelet instead of joystick and voice

Facebook chose the bracelet as a means of interacting with augmented reality objects by not adding friction that a control offers, or else the privacy problems and background noise perceived with voice commands.

“The wrist is a traditional place to wear a watch, which means that it can reasonably fit in contexts of everyday and social life. It is a comfortable place for use throughout the day. It is located near primary instruments that you use to interact with the world: your hands, ”says Facebook.

Facebook bracelet takes movements to augmented reality (Image: publicity / Facebook)

Facebook bracelet takes movements to augmented reality (Image: publicity / Facebook)

The bracelet uses technology called electromyography to monitor the electrical activity of the muscles. It works like this: your brain sends the command to “touch” and the muscle works for the finger to go there. It is this information, at the tip, that is captured by this device in development. The sensors used in the prototype presented are sensitive enough to detect the current sent to move the user’s finger by a distance of one millimeter – even detecting the intention of the movement, which can be useful for amputees.

In another video, with the practical demonstration of the bracelet, the product is able to identify the pinching movements on all fingers. At least, for now, this is basically the only movement detected by the system, delivering a click to control an object in a virtual environment – such as dragging a file, folder or photo.

Facebook also states that it is possible to perceive the electric current traveling up to the finger in any position and location, as long as the user has the bracelet. In other words, you can send a command to the computer with your hand in front of you, on your side or even in your pocket, hidden.

In a future moment, the Facebook project foresees even identifying the touches on a virtual keyboard, while the fingers tap on a hard surface like that of a table. In this example, the project also states that the space can be adapted to the user or the speed required to reach the keys. It would be something like the space bar to move more to one side, where the system detects that you search for it more often.

There is still no launch forecast for a bracelet or smartwatch with these sensors, but Facebook makes it clear that its project does not capture brain waves as Elon Musk is working. Even so, it is possible to predict that just the hand controls already means a lot of information, like knowing if the person is nervous, tense or relaxed – after seeing an ad, who knows.

With information: Facebook.

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