【Facebook研发新设备,皮肤或成备用交流器官】 Facebook正在研发一种能够通过皮肤阅读信息和邮件的可穿戴设备。研究人员将一种特定装置绑在用户手臂上,使用触觉传感器以某种特定形式传输波段。这种形式就像轻轻的戳在皮肤上以表达一种语言:使用者在手臂上接收到的轻微振动被编码成为“音位”,组成不同词语以供交流。开发人员认为这一设备能够帮助现代人缓解智能手机成瘾症,甚至帮助视觉或听觉障碍者自然交流。


The device that lets you read emails and texts with your SKIN: Facebook develops futuristic wearable that uses sensors to dictate words on your arm


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Facebook has developed a futuristic device that allows users to read emails and text messages with their skin.

A cast-like device is strapped onto the user's arm that uses haptic sensors to transmit waves in certain patterns.

The patterns feel like subtle pokes on the skin that represent a spoken or written language.

Its developers say the novel technology could curb smartphone addiction and even help people with visual and auditory impairments communicate.


The prototype wearable was revealed in a research paper published earlier this month, but Facebook presented the work this week at a conference in Canada.

In the study, the scientists show how people can learn how to use the device when assisted by an easy-to-use application.

Users receive slight vibrations on their arm that are coded into 'phonemes', which is a unit of spoken language that's applicable to all languages, making it easy to learn.

So easy, in fact, that Facebook researchers say that participants were able to learn four different phonemes in just three minutes.

'Our demonstration shows that naïve users can quickly learn the tactile coding, generalize it to new words, and use them in structured sentences for everyday discreet communication, all within 3 minutes,' the study explains.

Participants were able to recognize 100 words after an hour and a half of training, Ali Israr, who led the study, told MIT Technology Review.

The researchers took some cues from braille as an example of how touch or vibration can be used to communicate.

The cast is outfitted with two displays that each have eight tactors, or voice coils, surrounded by a 3D printed case and embedded with a foam sheet.

Vibrations are delivered in 250hz waves and the taps that are felt on the arm only last about 144 milliseconds.

'We use the forearm as the medium because it has a better tactile sensitivity than most body parts, is less likely to disrupt daily activity compared to the hand and is more socially acceptable than the forehead or feet,' the researchers said.

To that end, the researchers used phonemes because they're easier to transmit than letters.

In order to transmit phonemes, the researchers had to make sure they differentiate between voiced and voiceless consonants.

For example, sounds like 'ba', 'da' and 'ga' are articulated using the lips, gums and roof of the mouth, while 'pa' and 'ta' are only articulated using air.

To differentiate between the two, the system either sends a burst of waves or a single wave.

The goal is that the device can replace the need for users to constantly and obsessively check their phones, tablets and smartwatches.

Facebook researchers noted that smartphone users check their devices about 47 times per day on average.

It can be appealing to abandon devices completely, but as they've become more ingrained into society, scientists are trying to discover new ways that devices can be less disruptive in our daily lives.

'Clearly there is a need to build a system that can transmit messages to the receiver without disturbing people around the receiver, especially if the message requires immediate attention,' the study said.

'In short, the users can receive meaningful messages on their arms by feeling the vibrotactile stimuli, instead of inconveniently taking out and looking at their smart devices'.

Additionally, the system could be adapted for use by people with disabilities.

'For the blind, fingers can be freed to type while receiving messages through the arm,' the researchers said.

'For people with impaired hearing, their visual sense will no longer be overwhelmed by sign language and other visual information,'

'Blind-deaf people can do speechreading independently and easily without the presence of a speaker and placing their hand on the speaker's face', they added.

Facebook first eluded to some details about the futuristic wearable at its F8 developers conference in 2017.

During a presentation by Regina Dugan, who heads Facebook's secretive Building 8 hardware division, she spoke about 'optical sensors' that could allow people to type at speeds of 100 words per minute simply by thinking.

She also outlined a 'silent typing' system, and said it could mean and end to constantly checking our phones.

The system would allow users to 'text a friend without taking out your phone, or send an email without leaving the party'.





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