Facebook is making a bracelet that lets you control computers with your brain

The device would let you interact with Facebook’s upcoming augmented-reality glasses just by thinking

 

Facebook says it has created a wristband that translates motor signals from your brain so you can move a digital object just by thinking about it.

How does it work? The wristband, which looks like a clunky iPod on a strap, uses sensors to detect movements you intend to make. It uses electromyography (EMG) to interpret electrical activity from motor nerves as they send information from the brain to the hand. The company says the device, as yet unnamed, would let you navigate augmented-reality menus by just thinking about moving your finger to scroll.

A quick refresher on augmented reality: It overlays information on your view of the real world, whether it’s data, maps, or other images. The most successful experiment in augmented reality was Pokémon Go, which took the world by storm in 2016 as players crisscrossed neighborhoods in search of elusive Pokémon characters. That initial promise has faded over the intervening years, however, as companies have struggled to translate the technology into something appealing, light, and usable. Google Glass and Snap Spectacles bombed, for example: people simply did not want to use them. Facebook thinks its wristband is more user friendly.

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Does it work the way Facebook claims? Too soon to tell. The product is still in research and development at the company’s internal Facebook Reality Labs, and I didn’t get to have a go. No word yet on when it will be released or how much it will cost, either.

Read more: MIT Technology Review