She then highlighted how brain interface systems now used in medical cases, allow people for eight words per minute for people, but that system requires the use of implanted electrodes (into the brain), and according to Dugan, "that simply won't scale".
Facebook on Wednesday unveiled a series of ambitious research projects created to help humans communicate using new and startling technologies.
Facebook has a team of 60 people working on the technology. Regina Dugan, Facebook's vice president of engineering and a leader of its secretive Building 8 research laboratory, said in a blog post that the company is developing a silent speech interface which combines the convenience of voice and the privacy of text.
Earlier this week the Information reported that Building 8 has been working on a vibrating "haptic vest" as well as more generally augmented reality technology. This project comes on the heels of a December deal that saw 17 research entities, including Harvard, sign on for priority collaboration with Building 8, with the goal of improving Facebook's efforts to realize its experimental ideas.
"So what if you could type directly from your brain?" We only share some of those thoughts as speech, which Dugan describes as essentially a compression algorithm. Just as the speech interface could help you share your own thoughts without speaking, the skin sensors could let you listen to a speech or other sound without actually hearing it.
In perhaps its most startlingly far-out initiative yet, Facebook Inc. on Wednesday said it's developing a way for people to type with their mind and hear with their skin. Dugan said, "It sounds impossible but it's closer than you think", She joined Facebook from Google last 2016 and once led DARPA, the United States government's advanced defense research division.
It's also trying to create hardware and software that would allow people to process language.
"We're talking about decoding those words, the ones you already chose to share by sending them to the speech center of your brain". They take a ton, but only choose to share a few.
She said the power of the brain is much greater than what is translated through speech, comparing the brain's ability versus speech to "four HD movies per second streaming over a 1980s dial-up modem".
"Implanted electrodes simply won't scale", Dugan said. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivered the opening keynote at the F8 Developer Conference that runs through April 19.
The end-goal is to eventually be able to think in Mandarin and feel in Spanish, according to Dugna, who joined Facebook a year ago from Google's advanced projects division.
At one point, she noted that her teams were using optical imaging to advance the technology because the only alternative right now would be to implant hardware in people's brains.