“Non-invasive neural interface technology”
Facebook has bought a New York-based startup that specialises in brain-reading technology, with a senior company executive confirming the deal today.
Facebook VP, AR/VR Andrew Bosworth said the acquisition of CTRL-labs would allow users to share a photo with a friend “just by, well, intending to.”
The technology will “change the way we connect”, he added.
CTRL-labs, founded in 2015, has been developing what it terms a “CTRL-kit”.
That’s an electromyography-powered wristband that translates neural signals into digital input signals. The company says: “Using the CTRL-kit SDK and API, developers can begin integrating neural control into their applications.”
CTRL-labs was founded by Thomas Reardon and Patrick Kaifosh; both of whom graduated with PhDs in neuroscience from Columbia University.
Their vision: “The company’s scientific groundwork and developer partnerships will pave the way for mass consumer adoption of non-invasive neural interface technology: a new kind of universal controller that empowers humans to harness their machines as natural extensions of thought and movement.”
The deal was confirmed by Facebook’s VP for AR/VR, Andrew Bosworth.
In a short Facebook post, he wrote: “We spend a lot of time trying to get our technology to do what we want rather than enjoying the people around us.
“We know there are more natural, intuitive ways to interact with devices and technology. And we want to build them. It’s why we’ve agreed to acquire CTRL-labs. They will be joining our Facebook Reality Labs team where we hope to build this kind of technology, at scale, and get it into consumer products faster.”
He added: “Technology like this has the potential to open up new creative possibilities and reimagine 19th century inventions in a 21st century world. This is how our interactions in VR and AR can one day look.
“It can change the way we connect.”
The deal is variously reported to have been for between $500 million and $1 billion.