BLUF

Facebook is funding research to assist speech impaired paralysed people to communicate using words on a screen.

Summary

Facebook is/has invested in two forms of neural input technology to assist speech-impaired paralysed people. Regarding Implanted brain-computer interfaces, this article notes that:
  • Project Steno translates attempts at conversation from speech-impaired paralysed people into words on a screen.
  • An electrode patch is implanted over the area of the brain associated with controlling the vocal tract.
  • Machine learning algorithms can then recognise about 50 words converted word by word into real-time sentences.
  • Elon Musk's Neuralink is working on wireless transmission of data from brain-implanted electrodes. 
This article also makes the following points regarding Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality Headsets:
  • Facebook Reality Labs has a research team of around 10,000, focusing on wrist-worn devices.
  • Expertise gained from optical head-mounted devices will be utilised in developing algorithms and wrist-based sensors.
  • Research on non-invasive, prototype, head-worn headsets for studying brain activity will become publicly available for other organisations to utilise. 
  • Currently, non-invasive head or wrist-worn sensors are far less accurate than implanted electrodes.