Facebook struck an agreement to acquire CTRL-labs, a start-up that develops software for controlling computers by thought and movement, in a move aimed at boosting its presence in AR and VR technology.
Andrew Bosworth, VP of Facebook’s AR and VR unit, confirmed the deal in a blog post, which Bloomberg reported is valued between $500 million and $1 billion.
Specifically, CTRL-labs makes electronic wrist bands that allow people to conduct computing tasks, such as sharing pictures and clicking a mouse by thought, as part of an emerging field called “brain computing”.
“The vision for this work is a wristband that lets people control their devices as a natural extension of movement,” explained Bosworth.
The wristband will be able to “decode” electrical signals sent by a person’s neurons in the spinal cord and “translate them into a digital signal your device can understand, empowering you with control over your digital life”, he added.
Bosworth said this kind of technology has great potential in areas involving interactions in VR and AR, and added Facebook hopes to build the technology at scale and implement it into consumer products faster.
The move falls in line with the company’s long-term goals, as it has previously expressed ambitions to enter the world of augmented reality and become a leader in its commercial use.