Facebook has acquired CTRL-labs, a New York-based brain computing startup, for an undisclosed amount. The startup, which is building an armband capable of translating neural impulses into digital input signals and specializes in empowering humans to control computers using their brains, will join Reality Labs of the social media giant. This division of Facebook is already working on development augmented-reality smart glasses. There is no confirmation about the amount that Facebook paid to seal the deal, but some reports suggest that it was roughly between USD 500 million and USD 1 billion. A Facebook representative confirmed that it was below USD 1 billion.
Making the acquisition announcement, Facebook Vice President of AR/VR Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth said in a post that such technology has the prospective of opening up new creative possibilities. He said the technology can change the way we connect by enhancing the interactions in VR and AR. CTRL-labs recently raised USD 67 million from the investors like Lux Capital, GV, Spark Capital, Amazon’s Alexa Fund, and Founders Fund. After this acquisition, co-founder and CTRL-labs CEO Thomas Reardon will be joining Facebook while the employees of the startup will be free to choose the same. The move will bring more IP and talent under the social media giant’s wings as its competitors continue to make out augmented reality products.
Reardon along with Patrick Kaifosh founded CTRL-labs in 2015. They both received their PhDs in neuroscience from Columbia University. Before starting his own startup, Reardon worked for nine years at Microsoft as a technology chief at Openwave Systems. The startup was already developing a development kit of such a device called CTRL-kit. The device was in preview for select developers but yet to be made available openly at the time of acquisition. Apart from this, the startup is focusing on developing technology to use machine learning to decode signals detected in the wrist and then converting it into digital input. Once completed, the technology will give users seamless control over electronic devices.