Facebook says it is working on technology to allow us to control computers directly with our brains. "Speech is essentially a compression algorithm and a lossy one at that", said Dugan.
"That is why we love great writers and poets, because they are just a little bit better at compressing the fullness of a thought into words". The second project revolves around bui9lding hardware and software to allow you to deliver language through your skin, which is a network of nerves that sends information to your brain.
Facebook is exploring a silent speech system with a team of more than 60 scientists that would let people type 100 words per minute with their brain. During the day 2 keynote, the company demonstrated a video of one of its engineers repeating words communicated to her through sensors embedded in a sleeve on her arm.
Such brain-computer interface technology now involves implanting electrodes, but Facebook wants to use optical imaging to eliminate the need to surgically intrude on brains, according to Dugan. A silent speech interface with the speed and flexibility of voice and privacy of text.
In a bid to placate privacy concerns, Dugan said that the technology was not interested in decoding a person's random thoughts. "Technology is going to have to get a lot more advanced before we can share a pure thought or feeling, but this is a first step", he said. The approach would decode words that you've already chose to share.
Don't expect to see any of this technology in the real-world this year, but Dugan said maybe in a couple of years. The technology is still in its infancy, but the demonstrations during Dugan's speech at F8 made it clear that Facebook's in-house research is still much further along than you'd probably think. Dugan adds that it's also possible to "listen" to human speech by using your skin.
And the most exciting part about this development, according to Dugan, is that it could effectively serve as a universal translator, reducing words and concepts to tactile messages that would give, for example, a Chinese speaker the ability to speak to an English speaker, with both speakers using their native languages.
"I suggest that one day, not so far away, it may be possible for me to think in Mandarin and for you to feel it instantly in Spanish".
And.The technology could be game-changing for something like augmented reality glasses, suggests Dugan.
At Facebook's F8 conference today, the DARPA and Google ATAP alum Regina Dugan debuted two new radical, multi-year projects being developed by the social media company with a singular goal: to turn your body into the ultimate computer peripheral-no keyboard, mouse, display, or speakers required.
The company's aim is to develop a system that will let people type straight from their brain about five times faster than they can type on their phone today, which will be eventually turned into wearable technology that can be manufactured at scale.
Driven by the company's year-old hardware group, known as Building 8, the projects are among Facebook's most advanced efforts yet to realize its mission of connecting the human race.
Dugan previously ran the USA military's research lab, DARPA, and then worked at Google before joining Facebook, and her work thus far has been kept private.