The largest social media company in the world, Facebook, is adding CTRL-labs to its continuously expanding list of companies that it owns. CTRL-labs is developing an electromyography-based armband that picks up nerve signals moving from the brain to the fingers.
Once the acquisition is complete, CTRL-labs will be brought into Facebook’s Reality Labs division. Thomas Reardon, the Chief Executive Officer of CTRL-labs, will be teaming up with Facebook, and the rest of CTRL-labs’ force will also have the option to join the social media giant as well.
Bringing digital-neural interfacing to life
A few times in the past, Facebook has spoken about establishing the idea of non-intrusive brain input tech that could facilitate thought-to-text functionality, although such concepts remain in the research phase. But now with CTRL-labs on-board, the company will be taking a step closer to the real life implementation of such a device.
“We know there are more natural, intuitive ways to interact with devices and technology. And we want to build them,” says Andrew Bosworth, Vice President of augmented and virtual reality at Facebook. “It’s why we’ve agreed to acquire CTRL-labs. They 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 idea CTRL-labs has been working on is more oriented around muscle movement, especially focusing on hand movements in particular. A recent developer kit combined multiple kinds of sensors to gauge the precise position of the user’s hand. The device that would go around the user’s wrist, serves as an alternative to camera or glove-based tracking options. It seems that CTRL-labs may be able to create a better fitting device for Facebook that can keep up with or even overshadow what competitors such as Apple and Microsoft are doing.
“There are some fundamental advantages that we have over really any camera-based technology including Leap Motion or Kinect, because we’re directly on the body sensing the signal that’s going from the brain to the hand,” says the head of research and development at CTRL-labs, Adam Berenzweig. “There are no issues with collusion or field-of-view problems; it doesn’t matter where your hands are, whether they’re in a glove or a spacesuit.”