Facebook has announced a breakthrough in its plan to create a device that allows people to type just by thinking.
It has funded a study that developed machine-learning algorithms capable of turning brain activity into speech.
It worked on epilepsy patients who had already had recording electrodes placed on their brains to asses the origins of their seizures, ahead of surgery.
Facebook hopes it will pave the way for a “fully non-invasive, wearable device” that can process 100 words per minute.
University of California San Francisco scientists asked the patients to answer out loud a list of simple multiple-choice questions ordered randomly.
And the algorithms learned to identify:
- the question they had been asked, 75% of the time
- their chosen answer, 61% of the time
“Most previous approaches have focused on decoding speech alone,” Prof Eddie Chang said, “but here we show the value of decoding both sides of a conversation – both the questions someone hears and what they say in response…