Facebook’s making a wearable that uses your nerve signals to control AR

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Facebook is developing a new input device for AR glasses: a bracelet that lets you interact with virtual reality by moving your fingers.

The system uses electromyography (EMG) to convert nerve signals passing through the wrist in digital controls.

Facebook says these signals are so clear that the EMG can understand finger movements of just a millimeter:

This means that the entry can be done effortlessly. Ultimately, it may even be possible to feel only the intention to move a finger.

The devices also use Contextualized AI to dynamically adapt to you and your environment.

[Read: This haptic device uses strings to let you ‘feel’ objects in VR]

Facebook has yet to reveal a release date for the bracelets, but unveiled two prototypes of the devices in a blog post on Thursday.

The company claims to have explored a range of other sources of input before deciding that the wrist has some unique advantages:

The wrist is a traditional place to wear a watch, which means it could reasonably fit into everyday life and social settings. It is a comfortable place to wear all day. It’s located right next to the main instruments you use to interact with the world – your hands. This proximity would allow us to integrate the rich control capabilities of your hands into AR, enabling intuitive, powerful and satisfying interaction.

Initially, Facebook plans to use EMG for one or two finger movements, what it calls “smart clicks”. But the company expects signals to eventually control virtual objects and interfaces.

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Published March 18, 2021 – 18:44 UTC


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