Facebook has announced that it will acquire CTRL-Labs, a neural interface startup that makes wristbands that allow users to control computers with their minds.
The deal, reported to be worth about $1 billion, is the biggest acquisition Facebook has made since it bought Oculus Rift for double the price in 2014.
Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, the head of AR and VR at Facebook, posted the news on his personal Facebook page yesterday.
Bosworth explained that CTRL-Labs “will be joining our Facebook Reality Labs team where we hope to build this kind of technology, at scale, and get it into consumer products faster.”
The company, which creates neural interfaces in the same vein as Elon Musk's Neuralink, was co-founded by Internet Explorer creator and neuroscientist Thomas Reardon.
CTRL-Labs was founded in 2015 and has since raised $67 million in venture capital.
In his post, Bosworth says that CTRL-Labs’ wristband will be decisive in developing a new type of technology that could ultimately replace traditional keyboard-mouse setups and touchscreens.
No physical controller will be needed whatsoever to control a computer, allowing for a much faster control by humans.
“Technology like this has the potential to open up new creative possibilities and reimagine 19th century inventions in a 21st century world,” Bosworth wrote.
“This is how our interactions in VR and AR can one day look. It can change the way we connect.”
Two months ago, Musk unveiled the work of Neuralink in a presentation. Much in the same way as CTRL-Labs, Neuralink want to allow users to control computers with their minds.
Musk's company will take a more extreme approach to CTRL-Labs. They want to insert chips into user's brains surgically.
As per CNBC, the deal between CTRL-Labs and Facebook was made for between $500 million and $1 billion.
While wearables wristbands might seem less impressive than Neuralink's mind control brain chips, CTRL-Lab's wristband's should need less testing, and we might hopefully see the fruits of this new deal fairly soon.