Facebook's first pair of smart glasses is arriving this year. But for the next pair down the road, they may be connecting via your wrist.
A new blog post by Facebook Reality Labs discusses the company's next frontier of neural input technology. The company imagines that AR glasses will work alongside a soft wristband that will measure hand and finger gestures, with haptic feedback.
Facebook looks like it's breaking up its neural input advances into two waves: one, a "nearer-term" development, uses "wrist-based input combined with usable but limited contextualized AI." Facebook is planning a deeper-dive conversation next week with more details on that research. It's also promising details on "soft robotics research, comfortable, all-day wearable devices," and work on haptic gloves later in the year.
Neural input tech measures electrical impulses in the body (through the head or the arms, most often) to convert signals into inputs. Facebook acquired neural input company CTRL-Labs in 2019, but the technology hasn't shown up in any Facebook product yet. Facebook is specifically looking at wrist-based EMG (electromyography) as the way the company could explore what could be a wristband-type device first, and then haptic gloves or more expansive wearables later. Maybe this wrist-worn neural input device could eventually dovetail with reported plans for a Facebook smartwatch.
Facebook's AR/VR product head Andrew Bosworth told CNET earlier this year that the arrival of neural input tech was "sooner than many people think," but still several years away from appearing in a consumer product. A recent interview with Mark Zuckerberg published by The Information also discussed the promises of neural input tech as a solution for future smart glasses.