Mobility

How F8 Illustrated Facebook’s Continuous Evolution

Editor of eWEEK and repository of knowledge on storage, amongst other things

Follow on: Google +

ANALYSIS: Facebook uses F8 conference to show that it continues to move far beyond just being the “Blue App” on a smartphone or laptop

Silicon Valley staged some progressive IT events this past week, with Facebook F8 in San Jose, Amazon’s AWS Summit in San Francisco, an IoT preview put on by HPE and GE in Santa Clara, Calif., and probably others we couldn’t get to.

eWEEK has and/or will touch on highlights of these events. We’ve already covered F8 and AWS Summit pretty closely; go to those links to see a list of those and related articles. But for sheer innovation news, it’s hard to dispute that F8 took the blue ribbon home to Menlo Park this week.

facebook1

Facebook F8

Reason 1: How many companies admit that they want to read the minds of their customers?  Facebook said that this week.

Reason 2: How many companies predict that smartphones will go away and eventually become glasses by 2022? A Facebook executive said he believes this will happen.

Reason 3: How many companies want to get augmented reality implanted on your smartphone (ostensibly before it turns into a set of spectacles) as soon as possible? Right, that would be Facebook.

We could go on. In this context, we offer a virtual highlight reel of F8 2017.

Typing by Using Only Your Brain

Facebook revealed April 19 that it is developing what it calls “brain-computer speech-to-text interface” technology. This is aimed at translating a person’s thoughts directly from his or her brain to a computer screen without need for speech or fingertips.

Speech alone seems simple enough to move machines, but thoughts only? We are moving into the deep future here, it seems. The idea is that this technology will be able to take what you’re thinking to yourself in silence, using non-invasive sensors that can read exactly what you intend to say, and turn it into readable text.

Talk about personal data privacy. That will be nothing compared to keeping one’s personal thoughts private.
At the conference, Facebook’s Regina Dugan displayed video of a woman from a Stanford research experiment who could type eight words per minute using a small electrode implanted into her brain; she was able to move a computer cursor over a keyboard.

Dugan said that Facebook’s goal is to create–for use in a “few years”–software that could autonomously type 100 words per minute based on a person’s thoughts.

Once that IT gets commercialized, one can only imagine what other use cases thought-to-tech-to-action will come about–especially in the coming age of IoT. The “Wall-E” syndrome may not be as far away as one thinks.

Goodbye, Smartphones; Hello Super-Glasses?

Smartphones could become obsolete, replaced by AR glasses by 2022–or at least one Facebook exec, Michael Abrash, believes this is possible. The company that bought Oculus Rift for $2 billion in 2014 for its virtual reality headset clearly has a vested interest in getting smartphones replaced by VR or AR glasses.

Abrash, chief scientist of the social network’s Oculus Research, is deep into working on virtual reality headsets and augmented-reality glasses.

Abrash said at F8 that he envisions glasses that look just like today’s regular glasses but with the power to enhance the wearer’s memory, provide instant translation of foreign languages and signs, mute distracting nearby conversations or sounds and even read a baby’s temperature with a glance.

Originally published on eWeek

How will VR change Facebook? More on page 2…

Quiz: What do you know about Facebook?