Facebook Showcases Wristbands AR Interface Concept

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When it comes to innovative concepts and building next-generation human-computer interface (HCI) technology, Facebook never fails to surprise us. The Silicon Valley tech-giant has been trying its hands to make the most of Artificial Intelligence and create products that may change the way we perceive the world right now (quite literally!).

In its brand new update, Facebook unveiled a unique neural wristband that is based on the much-talked-about Augmented Reality (AR) interface concept. The wristband is meant to go hand in hand and act as the controller for Facebook’s AR glasses–a much-talked-about gadget that is still in the development phase.

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The interface of the wristband is modeled using the technology created by CTRL-Labs, a startup that Zuckerberg’s company bought in 2019. Though the preliminary technology was developed years ago by CTRL-Labs, Facebook wants to level it up by including regular computing in it, making it user-friendly and reliable.

The wrist-based device effectively uses electromyography or EMG sensors. This enables it to accurately interpret the wearer’s electrical motor nerve signals that travel through the wrist to the hand and translate them into digital commands that the wearer can use to control the functions of a device. This includes activities like swiping, typing, playing games, etc. The wristband also offers haptic feedback, making the system much more responsive.

FaceBook

The wrist-based device effectively uses electromyography or EMG sensors. This enables it to accurately interpret the wearer’s electrical motor nerve signals that travel through the wrist to the hand and translate them into digital commands that the wearer can use to control the functions of a device. This includes activities like swiping, typing, playing games, etc. The wristband also offers haptic feedback, making the system much more responsive.

A demo video has been uploaded by the company that gives a good idea about what the device is capable of doing (and trust us, it’s a lot!). You can check it out here. Furthermore, a blog post by Facebook Reality Labs gave detailed information and a little sneak peek into the company’s future plans regarding the gadget and its approach to AR interfaces.

Thomas Reardon, the Facebook Reality Labs Director of Neuromotor Interfaces explained, “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.”

Is the New Wristband by Facebook, a Mind Reader?

As much as it sounds like it can read our minds and thoughts, Facebook clearly states that its latest wrist-wearer is not exactly a mind reader.

According to the company, the wristband is actually about “decoding those signals at the wrist–the actions you’ve already decided to perform –and translating them into digital commands for your device. It’s a much faster way to act on the instructions that you already send to your device when you tap to select a song on your phone, click a mouse, or type on a keyboard today.”

Final Thoughts

While the wristband does sound like an amazing gadget, one that will undoubtedly pave the way for more seamless control for future AR systems, what must not be ignored is the fact that it will collect a massive amount of our private data. It is literally going to interpret and translate the signal of our neurons. The ability of EMG is limited for now, but it will certainly progress to more powerful controls in the future. 

So, the question that we all should be asking ourselves right now is that, are we really ready to let such powerful tech devices read, integrate, and ‘play around’ with our neurons? Because that is a lot of control for a device to have.

FaceBook

What does Facebook’s latest wrist-based wearable have in store for all of us, will it be able to transform the destiny of the Augmented Reality (AR) systems? Well, we have to wait for its official launch in the market to find that out!