On Monday, Facebook has publicly announced that it has acquired CTRL Labs, which is a startup based in New York that specializes in letting humans control computers using their brains.
CTRL Labs will be working with Facebook Reality Labs, which is their division that is focused on creating augmented reality smart glasses. According to some sources, this acquisition has cost between 500 million to 1 billion dollars. In a statement from a Facebook representative, it was stated that the deal cost less than $1 billion.
According to Andrew Bosworth, who is the Vice President of AR/VR on Facebook, “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.”
Their vision for the technology of CTRL labs is to use a wristband that will let people have full control of their devices.
As an explanation, he says, “Here is how it will work: You have neurons in your spinal cord that send electrical signals to your hand muscles telling them to move in specific ways such as to click a mouse or press a button. The wristband will decode those signals and translate them into a digital signal your device can understand, empowering you with control over your digital life.”
The brilliant startup CTRL Labs was founded by Patrick Kaifosh and Thomas Reardon in 2015. Both founders have received their neuroscience PHDs from Columbia University before starting their company. Thomas Reardon has also spent nine years working at Microsoft. He was also Chief of Technology at Openwave Systems. In February of this year, CTRL Labs have also raised $28 million in February from Amazon’s Alexa Fund and Alphabet’s GV.
This acquisition deal has pushed through despite the investigation done by the Federal Trade Commission on an antitrust issue. The FTC wants to investigate if this deal was facilitated as an attempt to stifle a possible competition for Facebook’s Building 8 Division.