Facebook reveal prototype “mind-reading” device


Amit Deshpande, Staff Writer

Last week, Facebook’s Reality Labs division revealed a prototype mind-controlled device, paired with an augmented reality keyword, that would potentially pave the way for a whole new field of consumer tech products. They showcased a device worn on the wrist that can scan neurological signals from the user’s brain and interpret those for functionalities such as virtual typing or control usage. Facebook researchers hope to integrate this technology augmented reality (AR) software—which overlays digital interfaces onto the real world via an AR camera—and allow users to control far away objects with their mind. The development of such technologies certainly brings a sci-fi future much closer to reality, and many people are excited for the potential that it holds, even outside of the context of consumer technology.

“The medical applications for this new technology are endless,” senior Ezri Abraham said. “Remote surgeries and quadriplegics can be made easier to connect with the world.” 

Abraham is hopeful about applications of brain-computer interfaces in the medical field, which can help solve many ongoing issues that people with disabilities and injuries face. However, many question whether this technology, which is being introduced by one of the world’s largest social media corporations, would ever be used for the collective benefit of humanity. The historical lack of transparency of Facebook’s usage of user data—such as exposing millions of users’ data to Cambridge Analytica in 2016—creates justifiable concern of Facebook’s underlying motives. 

“I am not comfortable with Facebook using this technology on the public,” senior Eshaan Basu said. “They [Facebook] are already selling your data to so many companies for billions of dollars. They will do the same thing with neurological data and know what you want to buy before you know yourself”. 

Many people would agree that advancements in technology have the potential to advance humanity as a whole, but there are split sentiments on how it should be and will be used. As Facebook continues its research and reveals more information on their prototype, we can only hope that it brings a benefit for the future of the world.