Facebook hosted the F8 conference this week where they revealed a number of new features and projects from augmented reality to mind-reading technology.
Facebook held their F8 developer’s conference in San Jose yesterday, revealing multiple new Facebook features and projects. Here are the most important things from the conference:
1: Facebook brain interface
The Telegraph reports that Mark Zuckerberg revealed a new project that Facebook is developing — mind-reading technology that would allow users to send their thoughts over the internet. The company is reportedly working to create “direct brain interfaces” that would allow users to interact with computers using only their mind.
“We’re building further out beyond augmented reality, and that includes work around direct brain interfaces that are going to eventually one day let you communicate using only your mind,” said Zuckerberg.
2: Augmented Reality camera developers platform
Facebook has announced a developers platform for their Snapchat-like augmented reality photo filters, which the company hopes to advance in the coming years. Developers will now be able to create AR selfie masks, project information onto real-world objects such as reviews on the storefront of a restaurant or even add virtual reality objects to the real world such as a chess board or TV.
This allows Facebook to deliver a wider range of augmented reality effects to users without having to create them in-house, outsourcing much of the work to third party developers.
3: Facebook Spaces
Facebook Spaces is one of Facebook’s first virtual reality experiences, which allows up to four Facebook users to step into a virtual reality space where they can view digital avatars of each other, make Messenger video calls and take VR selfies. Currently, the app is only available for use with Facebook’s own virtual reality headset, the Oculus Rift, which was purchased by Facebook in 2014.
Facebook has planned for Spaces to be available for use with multiple virtual reality headsets in the future. This is part of Facebook’s attempt to create a social VR experience that prompted the companies purchase of Oculus in 2014.
4: Emergency Internet Helicopter
Facebook is working to create an emergency response miniature helicopter that would provide internet access to emergency areas. The helicopter has been dubbed the “Tether-tenna” and would provide “instant infrastructure” to areas in need of internet access during emergency situations.
Yael Maguire who run’s Facebook’s Connectivity Lab said, “When completed, this technology will be able to be deployed immediately and operate for months at a time to bring back connectivity in case of an emergency.”
5: Vibration translation technology
Facebook’s Building 8 research group, run by ex-DARPA director Regina Dugan, is working on technology that would allow deaf people to “hear” through their skin. Facebook also believes the technology could be used by those that can already hear to translate conversations into other languages in real-time.
The technology is compared to a cochlear implant which translates sound into information readable by the brain; Facebook plans to reproduce these functions and transmit the information to the brain through the user’s skin. The technology won’t allow users to so much hear the word but rather recognize the vibration associated with the word.
“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,” said Dugan. “Imagine the power such a capability would give to the 780 million people around the world who cannot read or write but who can surely think and feel.”