Facebook’s secretive Building 8 tested a prototype device to let you ‘hear’ through your skin

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Starting as early as January 2017, the staff of a secretive Facebook initiative called Building 8 have been working to make the world’s first brain-computer interfaces, devices that essentially put the functionality of a laptop in your head.
The initiative includes at least two major publicly reported projects: a noninvasive brain sensor designed to turn thoughts into text and a device that essentially lets you “hear” with your skin.
That second project is being led by Freddy Abnousi, a cardiologist who previously worked at Stanford University.
In a study published this summer and reviewed by Business Insider, Abnousi and a team of 12 other researchers created a prototype device that includes a wearable armband that vibrates to turn the roots of words into silent speech.
Facebook isn’t alone in its brain-machine interface endeavor — Neuralink, a company founded by Elon Musk, is racing to achieve the same goal, and several startups have similar projects in the works.

When Regina Dugan, the former head of a secretive Facebook hardware lab known only as Building 8, took the stage at the company’s annual developer conference in San Jose, California, last year, she announced the intent to build a device that few in the audience could believe would ever be real.

The device, she claimed, would let users hear “through their skin.”

Hundreds of journalists were quick to dismiss the idea as science-fiction. But Dugan’s initiative — now led by former Stanford University cardiologist Freddy Abnousi — appears to have turned into at least one prototype product. In a study published in July in a peer-reviewed engineering journal, a team of Facebook Building 8 researchers describe in detail, and with photographs, an armband that vibrates to allow for the roots of words to be transformed into silent speech.

Essentially, what the device appears to do …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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