At the same time, these efforts raise hard questions related to patient privacy, as any brain-to-text system will essentially read a person's unspoken thoughts.
On the Internet, many reacted with alarm, as any hardware could blur the definition between human and machine.
Dugan acknowledged some of these issues in her talk, which was laced with terms more akin to a science fiction movie or a conversation among physicists.
At one point, she noted that her teams were using optical imaging to advance the technology because the only alternative right now would be to implant hardware in people's brains.
"Optical imaging is a good place to start," she said wryly, before adding that part of the research required "filtering for quasi-ballistic photons."
Still, the end products produced by Dugan and her Building 8 teams could greatly enhance the ability of the disabled to see and hear.
They also play into the vision of CEO Mark Zuckerberg to increase the scope of the social network beyond its 1.8 billion users.
"If we fail, it's going to suck," Dugan said.
Watch: Zuckerberg's plan under Trump