Facebook may be investing in futuristic technology that uses neuroimaging and electrophysiological data to let humans communicate via brain waves.
Last year Facebook created an uber-secretive research division named Building 8. Headed up by ex-Google Advanced Technology and Projects Group Executive Regina Dugan. Its vision is to developing innovative consumer hardware products that advance their ultimate aim of connecting the world. A worthy assignment, granted – but what specifically are these products they speak of?
Sadly, we don’t really know. That’s the issue with top secret research facilities. They do tend to be rather… well, secretive. Anybody who was ever a fan of 90s zombie horror can tell you that. However, several recent job postings suggest that they are working to make Mark Zuckerberg’s previously cited dream of communicating via brain waves a reality.
One such job posting seeks a Brain-Computer Interface Engineer with a Ph.D. in neuroscience (or similar) and at least three years experience working with “brain-computer interface technologies or other applications or machine learning methods to neuroimaging and/or electrophysiological data”. Another seeks a Neural Imaging Engineer with a Ph.D. in Physics (or similar) to “design and evaluate novel neural imaging methods based on optical, RF, ultrasound, or other entirely non-invasive approaches”.
Wait, seriously, what?
In layman’s terms (if such technology can actually be described in layman’s terms), neuroimaging technology seeks to scan, understand and discern what is happening in the brain, specifically through brain waves. Previous technology has made use of headbands to measure brain waves activity. While there is no way of telling exactly what methods Facebook will use and the kind of product that they will eventually create, they are likely to build on previous known technology.
The creation of such a product is likely to be a long time coming. Nevertheless it would represent a major breakthrough in computing and would elevate Facebook, already the uncontested leader in social networking, to the top of the world of science and technology.
This may just the tip of the iceberg for groundbreaking, innovative research projects to come out of Umbrella Corp. Sorry, did I say Umbrella? I meant Building 8. Clearly.