Facebook Acquires CTRL-labs to Move Forward on a Neuro-Controlled Wristband

Co-founder and CEO Thomas Reardon will join Facebook Reality Labs

The CTRL-kit from CTRL-labs CTRL-labs

Facebook said it will acquire New York-based neurotechnology startup CTRL-labs, which has been developing a wristband that enables people to control digital devices including smartphones and computers solely via their movements and neural impluses, and not via screens or keyboards.

The social network did not reveal financial information about the deal, but Kurt Wagner of Bloomberg reported that the price tag falls between $500 million and $1 billion.

Facebook vice president of consumer hardware Andrew Bosworth revealed the acquisition in a Facebook post Monday, and CTRL-labs confirmed it in a tweet.

Lucas Matney of TechCrunch reported that CTRL-labs co-founder and CEO Thomas Reardon will join Facebook Reality Labs—which is led by Bosworth and Oculus chief scientist Michael Abrash—and other CTRL-labs employees will be given the option to do so, as well.

Bosworth wrote in his Facebook post, “The vision for this work is a wristband that lets people control their devices as a natural extension of movement. Here’s how it’ll 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. It captures your intention so that you can share a photo with a friend using an imperceptible movement or just by, well, intending to.”

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.