Facebook announces acquisition of ‘mind-reading’ wristband maker

Facebook has announced that it is acquiring CTRL-Labs, the neural interface technology, which is a startup engaged in the development of a wristband that can transmit electrical signals from the brain into computer input. The agreement is valued at around $1 billion and is one of the biggest deals struck by Facebook in the past decade, following the $2 billion acquisition of Oculus VR, the virtual reality company, back in 2014. It is also a significant increase in investment in the social media giant’s hardware goals, as the CTRL-Labs tech will be utilized in future augmented as well as virtual reality projects at the social network.

Earlier this year, CTRL-Labs purchased a series of patents concerning the Myo armband, a gesture and motion control device, which has been developed by North, previously known as Thalmic Labs. The Myo armband was designed to measure electromyography, or EEG, converting muscle activity into gesture-related software data; however, the company later began manufacturing a stylish pair of AR glasses christened ‘Focals.’ The technology initially developed by North might potentially rival against Focals under the name of CTRL-Labs. Andrew Bosworth, Head, AR and VR, Facebook, made the announcement on his personal Facebook page. The announcement stated that CTRL-Labs, which was co-founded by Thomas Reardon, the creator and neuroscientist of Internet Explorer, and will become a part of Facebook Reality Labs team, where they hope to build similar technology, at scale, for its swift entrance in the consumer products market.

Patrick Kaifosh, CTRL-Labs’ other co-founder, is also a neuroscientist. The company’s CEO, Thomas Reardon, studied neuroscience and received his doctoral degree in 2016 after he gave up a career in software engineering.  The startup was founded in the year 2015 and has, until now, raised $67 million in venture capital.

Purushottam Gaurav

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