Technobabble: Facebook taps into your brain, dolls tap into your home

Technobabble is our look at the weird, wonderful and wildly creative aspects of technology and the tech industry. If you have any babble, feel free to email directly or reach out on Twitter.

Sometimes, the tech industry is confronted with rapid advancements in computing, technology that was never before seen or even imagined. The iPhone was one such invention, revolutionizing how people communicate and use the internet, creating a mobile generation.

This week, straight out of a science fiction novel, Facebook revealed it was skipping the touch screen altogether and was working to tap into users’ brains.  

Regina Dugan, head of Facebook’s Building 8, asked, “what if you could type directly from your brain?” Dugan is the former head of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), brought on by Facebook last year to lead Building 8 and construct advanced technologies. This week, the social network revealed what Building 8 has been working on.

Turns out, the advanced research group is trying to construct “a brain mouse” to allow users to type using their thoughts, the company revealed at the Facebook F8 developer conference, CNBC reports. The “brain-computer speech-to-text interface” would translate thoughts to a computer without having to use a keyboard. Or hands. Or even feet, for that matter.

Once the technology is a reality, users will be able to “type five times faster” than they can with a smartphone, taking advantage of the computing power of the human brain, Dugan said. 

Oh, and Facebook is also working to let you hear with your skin. 

All of Facebook’s advanced research efforts center around making computing more accessible, particularly to deaf or blind populations, becoming a “speech prosthetic.” Facebook has dedicated 60 scientists to the project.

The technology has a long ways to go. Many are skeptical that the brain mouse can be achieved without installing an invasive sensor into someone’s head. Right now the research group is using optical imaging to test the project to avoid having to implant devices into people’s brains. As Dugan said, “if we fail, it’s going to suck.” 

There’s a spy among us, kill on sight 

The creators of “My Friend Cayla” probably thought they were on to something with a doll that can talk to and interact with a child, sharing photos, playing games and reading stories to adoring owners. She even speaks different languages, has a Bluetooth range of 30 feet and has a companion app for either Apple iOS or Android. 

But it turns out the doll is not so innocent. Recently, the German government ordered parents to find and destroy Cayla, banning its sale, purchase and ownership, The Wall Street Journal reports. The privacy-conscious German government said the doll was an illegal eavesdropping device, fighting back…

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