Facebook today announced that it will acquire neutral interface startup CTRL-Labs, a company that makes a wristband capable of transmitting electrical signals from the brain into computer input. It also marks a substantial increase in investment in Facebook’s growing hardware ambitions, as the CTRL-Labs tech will be put to use in future augmented and virtual reality projects at the social network.
- In a Facebook post announcing the deal, Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, Facebook’s vice president of augmented and virtual reality, said the company wants to build mind-reading technology at scale and get it into consumer products.
- CTRL Labs founder Patrick Kaifosh was on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for science in 2018. He told in March he sees the wristband as a “universal controller for all your interactions with technology.”
- Facebook paid between $500 million and $1 billion for the company, Bloomberg reported, citing sources familiar with the transaction.
- The startup will be part of Facebook Reality Labs, a division inside Facebook focusing virtual and augmented reality projects.
- CTRL Labs raised $28 million in a February funding round led by GV, formerly Google Ventures. The startup has raised a total of $67 million from investors such as the Amazon Alexa Fund, Spark Capital, Matrix Partners and Lux Capital, according to Pitchbook.
In an interesting twist, CTRL-Labs purchased a series of patents earlier this year around the Myo armband, a gesture and motion control device developed by North, formerly known as Thalmic Labs. The Myo armband measured electromyography, or EEG, to translate muscle activity into gesture-related software inputs, but North moved on from the product and now makes a stylish pair of AR glasses known as Focals. It now appears the technology North developed may in some way make its way into a Focals competitor by way CTRL-Labs.