Technology

Facebook unveils new projects at F8 developer conference

EPA / GIAN EHRENZELLER

Facebook’s annual developer summit F8 kicked off in California on April 18 with CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote speech during which he announced a series of new features from a virtual reality app to the company’s new augmented reality platform.

“We’re making the camera the first augmented reality platform,” Zuckerberg told those gathered at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose before introducing the new Camera Effects Platform. The platform, powered by an augmented reality engine, offers its users face tracking, 3D rendering, animation and various other features that play into the idea Zuckerberg spoke about at the conference’s opening – that smartphone cameras are the next augmented reality platforms. The app includes two products: Frames Studio, which is already available globally, and AR Studio, now available in beta.

Facebook also announced its new virtual reality app Facebook spaces that allows people on the social network to connect in an interactive virtual environment and will be launched in beta for VR headset Oculus Rift. By using the app, users can explore Facebook content with their friends, including 360 videos.

“What if you could type directly from your brain?” Regina Dugan, Facebook’s Building 8 chief

However, the most ambitious revelation at this year’s summit is Facebook’s intention of building a brain-computer interface that enables people to type by just thinking. A team of 60 engineers and research partners at universities like UC Berkeley and John Hopkins are working on the idea that will use optical imaging to scan the user’s brain and translate thoughts directly into text, but without any physical implants, paving the way for super-fast typing.

But the projects don’t end there. Facebook’s Building 8 is working on technology that will make it possible for people to hear through their skin. The idea consists in creating hardware and software that will enable skin to translate sound into frequencies sent to the brain.

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