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Facebook is working on a headset that can transfer a person’s thoughts directly onto a computer screen using a brain-machine interface.

A paper describing the technology, published in Nature Communications, reveals how the headset is able to decode brain activity to instantly transcribe what a person is saying into text on a computer screen. 

The algorithm that decodes the activity is currently only able to recognise a small set of words and phrases but the technology giant said that its non-invasive, wearable device could one day allow people with paralysis to communicate.

The technology could also transform the utility of augmented reality glasses and virtual reality headsets through thought-based controls.

“Being able to recognise even a handful of imagined commands, like ‘home’, ‘select’, and ‘delete’ would provide entirely new ways of interacting with today’s VR systems – and tomorrow’s AR glasses,” Facebook wrote in ablog post describing the brain-computer interface device.

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