Facebook’s secret hardware group is working on ways to read your mind

Posted: 23 March 2017 | By Darcie Thompson-Fields

Facebook’s ambitious hardware group, Building 8, is preparing to launch next month and it wants to scan your brain.

A report from Business Insider suggests that a secret division of the social media giant is poised to unveil projects at its annual F8 developer conference in April. The big innovations range from augmented reality to brain scanning technology straight out of science fiction.

The move to hardware is an ambitious one for Facebook, which will come up against giants like Apple, Google and startups such as Snap. And unlike the social media’s internet superpower status, which is cemented by its nearly 2 billion users, Facebook has no experience in the world of hardware.

According to analysis conducted by Business Insider, Facebook is aiming to create and sell millions of consumer hardware units, from a supply chain outpost in Hong Kong to a planned retail push and customer call centre operation. Facebook have declined to comment.

Brain computer interface

Facebook has made big investments in artificial intelligence, working on adding natural language processing, facial recognition and other technologies that can predict user behaviour to its site. Understanding its users helps Facebook place targeted ads and ultimately make money.

Now, Facebook is working on the ability to read your mind by scanning your brain. Building 8 is working on a “brain computer interface” prototype that can potentially scan brains through an AR device. The project is led by a former John Hopkins neuroscientist who helped develop a mind-controlled prosthetic arm.

This move into the consumer device market signals that Facebook is keen to further understand how it’s users think. Any information gathered would only add to Facebook’s wealth of knowledge, which already boasts a decade of user data.

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