Apple may be working on a ring for augmented reality, but Facebook is developing a bracelet capable of recording nervous activity to detect movements and actions and translate them into augmented reality. In other words, this device is capable of knowing what we want to do and applying it to the virtual world.
It is an idea that seems very futuristic and especially dangerous, but first of all, on Facebook, they wanted to clarify that this bracelet is not capable of reading our brain. That’s because it doesn’t directly interpret the brain, but rather it detects the electrical signals in the user’s arm, which the muscles receive and execute.
“Brain sends signals to your hands and fingers telling them to move in specific ways in order to perform actions like typing and swiping. This is about decoding those signals at the wrist — the actions you’ve already decided to perform — and translating them into digital commands for your device.” — says Mike Schroepfer, Facebook CTO.
Detection of these signals is possible thanks to EMG technology. It is a proposal widely used in the field of medicine to perform various health diagnoses related to the nervous system. The Facebook bracelet uses them to capture the electrical activity of the nervous system, translate it into digital commands and thus enrich augmented reality experiences.
They have explained that the wrist is the ideal place for this device for several reasons. One of them is because the brain dedicates a large part of the neurons to control its movement. In addition, because it is the ideal location to place a wide range of sensors that detect nerve signals.
The group of researchers Facebook Reality Labs Research has managed to detect directional orders in this way and translate them into movements used in applications and games.
As a result, with this device, we could use the hand to touch objects that do not exist, with total normality. That opens the doors to a lot more possibilities in augmented reality.
The presentation video shows some simple applications, such as the possibility of navigating our messages, the calendar, and the weather forecast with simple gestures with a finger. There is also talk of integration with smart devices, allowing us to interact with notifications directly.
At the moment, this wearable is only a prototype. The company claims that it understands the “ethical issues” involved in developing this technology and promises transparency in discussing solutions with the community.