Facebook’s secretive Building 8 tested a prototype device to let you ‘hear’ through your skin

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  • Starting as early as January 2017, the staff of a secretive Facebook initiative called Building 8 have been working to make the world’s first brain-computer interfaces, devices that essentially put the functionality of a laptop in your head.
  • The initiative includes at least two major publicly reported projects: a noninvasive brain sensor designed to turn thoughts into text and a device that essentially lets you “hear” with your skin.
  • That second project is being led by Freddy Abnousi, a cardiologist who previously worked at Stanford University.
  • In a study published this summer and reviewed by Business Insider, Abnousi and a team of 12 other researchers created a prototype device that includes a wearable armband that vibrates to turn the roots of words into silent speech.
  • Facebook isn’t alone in its brain-machine interface endeavor — Neuralink, a company founded by Elon Musk, is racing to achieve the same goal, and several startups have similar projects in the works.

When Regina Dugan, the former head of a secretive Facebook hardware lab known only as Building 8, took the stage at the company’s annual developer conference in San Jose,

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