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Agencies 4 Growth Festival Logo

Facebook acquires ‘brain computing’ specialist start-up for $500m

Facebook puts mind over matter after acquiring ‘brain computing’ specialist for $500m

Facebook has allocated a slice of its cash reserves to a ‘brain computing’ start-up specialising in the development of new interfaces which will allow people to control devices via the power of their minds.

Such a telekinetic ability would do away with the clunky keyboard and mouse and is the dream of CTRL-Labs, a start-up developing a wristband capable of reading and interpreting thoughts and translating these into simple commands such as clicking a button.

Described as a ‘non-invasive; solution the wristband seeks to read neurons transmitted from the spine which carry instructions for muscle movement, potentially enabling such commands to be carried out beyond the human body.

Now Facebook is buying into this vision having acquired the business for somewhere in the range of $500m to $1bn to integrate the tech into its social media empire, potentially allowing members to share photos and other tasks without lifting a finger.

Confirming the sci-fi vision in a blog post Facebook executive Andrew Bosworth wrote: “The vision for this work is a wristband that lets people control their devices as a natural extension of movement.

“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.”

Under the terms of the deal, CTRL-Labs co-founder Thomas Reardon will join Facebook’s Reality Labs group although it's not clear how many of a dozen or so employees will follow suit.

Serial entrepreneur Elon Musk has also spied an opportunity in such devices having backed his own brain interface venture.

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