What if you could control a computer with your mind? Well, Facebook’s latest device may allow you to do just that. Facebook recently announced that it has created a wristband that allows you to move a digital object just by thinking about it. The wristband looks like a large iPod on a strap and uses sensors to detect the user’s movements through electromyography (EMG). EMG interprets electrical activity from motor nerves as information is transmitted from the brain to the hand. An example: you could navigate through the augmented-reality menus by thinking about moving your finger to scroll through the options. However, Facebook notes that this “control” is coming from the part of the brain that controls motor information, not thought.
The wristband is still in the research and development phase at Facebook’s Reality Labs; no details about its cost or release date have been provided yet. This wristband is part of Facebook’s push for every-day virtual reality and augmented-reality products for consumers, and it’s likely only the beginning.
Facebook also released information earlier this month about its augmented-reality glasses that, as you walk past your favorite coffee shop, might ask you if you want to place an order. Herein lies a privacy dilemma: products such as these glasses and wristband mean that companies like Facebook will have access to even more data points about consumers than they already do. In the coffee shop for example, the company and its advertising partners would know what kind of coffee you prefer, where you live/work/ frequently visit, and either by submission or statistical deduction, also know your demographic, health, and other personal information. A personalized consumer profile based on your every move could easily be created (or more likely added to the already-existing profile about your buying behaviors).