By: Nick Gambino
On Monday, Facebook announced their acquisition of CTRL-labs, a startup interested in making devices that read your mind and allow you to control computers with your thoughts.
CTRL-labs is mainly known for a wrist band they created that reads your intentions before you’ve even moved your physical body to execute. These intentions or impulses are then transmitted to a computer where they are executed. In other words, it converts your mental activity into digital activity.
The Verge was able to try out a demo of the mind-reading band last year. While still far from a perfect system, they were able to play versions of Fruit Ninja and Asteroids with little more than their mind and intended thought.
Facebook is said to have purchased the tech startup for somewhere between $500 million and $1 billion. That’s Facebook’s largest price tag on an acquisition since the social media giant purchased Oculus for $2 billion.
The idea is to bring CTRL-labs onto the Facebook Reality Labs team where their resident geniuses are hard at work dreaming up new ways to use VR and AR. Fused with whatever headway they’ve made in the “reality sphere,” the future might see us using our mind to send a text or share a photo.
“Technology like this has the potential to open up new creative possibilities and reimagine 19th-century inventions in a 21st-century world,” Andrew Bosworth (Boz) said in his announcement of the acquisition in a Facebook post. “This is how our interactions in VR and AR can one day look. It can change the way we connect.”
Facebook has flirted with the idea of brain-computer tech over the years but hasn’t produced anything by way of a product. News of the acquisition for a hefty price tag shows they are serious about creating ground-breaking tech that has the potential of revolutionizing the way we work and interface with technology.
I often cite the last 20 years of tech innovations as evidence of the fact that the next 20 years will be virtually unrecognizable. Something big is on the horizon that will completely change our relationship to tech. I may not be smart enough to know what it is, but I think we’ll know it when we see it.