According to reports, US social media giant Facebook is developing a wristband device that translates motor signals from the brain into navigating augmented reality on a computer allowing electromyography (EMG) to interpret the information being sent from the brain to hand.
It is one of the "fantasy" projects developed by the tech giant which is likely to change the face of human interaction with computers. The new technological innovation will allow users to write or scroll through images on a computer screen by just thinking about it.
Facebook Reality Labs
Facebook had earlier said it was building an interface for AR "that won’t force us to choose between interacting with our devices and the world around us."
"We’re developing natural, intuitive ways to interact with always-available AR glasses because we believe this will transform the way we connect with people near and far," it said.
Facebook Reality Labs (FRL) Research is using EMG — electromyography — sensors to translate electrical motor nerve signals that travel through the wrist to the hand into digital commands that you can use to control the functions of a device.
These signals let you communicate crisp one-bit commands to your device, a degree of control that’s highly personalise and adaptable to many situations.
EMG can understand finger motion
Facebook Inc had said earlier that it is developing a wristband that would be able to control its augmented reality (AR) glasses that are expected to be launched this year.
Wearers of the band would be able to interact with the virtual world with their finger movements, the company said in a blog post.
The signals through the wrist are so clear that EMG can understand finger motion of just a millimetre. That means input can be effortless. Ultimately, it may even be possible to sense just the intention to move a finger, Facebook says.
The AR-supporting wearable device will also be capable of detecting nerve signals to interpret complex hand gestures and moves.
This marks as a step-up for Facebook in a hotly contested race among tech giants like Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google in an industry that believes the glasses will eventually replace the functionality of mobile phones altogether.
FRL Director of Neuromotor Interfaces Thomas Reardon says: “What we’re trying to do with neural interfaces is to let you control the machine directly, using the output of the peripheral nervous system — specifically the nerves outside the brain that animate your hand and finger muscles.”
'True' augmented reality
Facebook had earlier said that smart glasses would need to rely on devices like phones for the foreseeable future due to constraints like battery life and the heat generated by processing.
A wristband would be able to serve as a platform for computing and supporting such functions.
In September, Facebook said it was about five to 10 years away from being able to bring to market "true" augmented reality glasses that would have abilities like letting people to jointly see and interact with persistent shared virtual objects.
With sensors on the wrist, you can interact with virtual objects or control the ambience of your living room in a nearly frictionless way. And someone born without a hand can even learn to operate a virtual one, the company had said in a blog post.
"We believe people don’t need to choose between the virtual world and the real world. With ultra-low-friction wrist-based input, adaptive interfaces powered by contextually-aware AI, and haptic feedback, we can communicate with our devices in a way that doesn’t pull us out of the moment, letting us connect more deeply with others and enhancing our lives," it said.
'Control virtual objects at a distance'
Facebook says EMG will eventually progress to richer controls. In AR, you’ll be able to actually touch and move virtual UIs and objects.
"You’ll also be able to control virtual objects at a distance. It’s sort of like having a superpower like the Force."
So get ready to embrace the future in which anything is possible.
Internet-connected cameras used in the home are becoming popular and affordable but security flaws mean live feeds or images including of children sleeping, could be accessed by hackers, said Britain's national cyber security agency.
The National Cyber Security Centre urged users to change default passwords, regularly update security software and disable remote internet access if not being used regularly.
Britain recently announced new laws that would hold companies manufacturing and selling such devices to account if they fail to improve security settings.
Until these laws are in place, consumers themselves will have to do research and take measures to protect themselves, said Caroline Normand, director of advocacy at Which, a consumer rights group.
The guidance comes amid growing debate over the digital rights of young children, particularly with the rise of tracking apps on mobile phones and their images shared online by parents.