Facebook announced the acquisition of CTRL-Labs, a New York based start-up engaged in the design and development of neural interface devices. Such devices are again envisaged to pick up electrical signal emanating from the brain which then serves as an input into a processing device such as a PC to serve some functionality.
At the moment, the above is achieved in the form of a band worn around the arm or the wrist. The band comes with sensors designed to pick up the electrical signal meant for the hand muscles to accomplish certain tasks, like a specific click on the mouse or a scroll in a particular region. The electrical signal again has its origin in the spinal cord and hence the brain.
This way, any desire on part of the users to input something to a software interface can be decoded by the band and will act accordingly. Such thoughts in the form of electrical signals are converted into their digital counterpart and will serve as a direct input method bypassing the usual input device such as a mouse or a keyboard.
Facebook at the moment is aiming to use the above technology and apply those in developing meaningful devices such as a wrist band or maybe even a ring around the finger. Such devices will then serve as a futuristic mean of inputting something into a software, replacing the traditional mouse, keyboard, joystick and such that has been in existence for decades now.
No wonder such a device will have extensive usage in the gaming scene as well and can render the game controllers obsolete. It will also have a huge impact in the field of AR and VR, claimed Facebook Vice President of AR/VR Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth.
The acquisition also proves the deep ambitions Facebook has in the field of hardware. The above development comes close on the heels of the company announcing the launch of the second generation Portal devices for chatting online. True the Portals are simple chatting devices with a display and is backed by AI-enabled software for ease in chatting.
New Portal TV from Facebook can use smart TV for video chatting, privacy concerns remain
In contrast, CTRL-Labs is perhaps the most advanced hardware/ software endeavor Facebook has ever got into, which shows its keen intentions to remain not just a social networking company. Instead, it wishes to see itself as an entity that can drive change in the space of computer hardware incorporating cutting-edge futuristic technologies.
The acquisition meanwhile is estimated to have cost Facebook around a billion-dollar at the most but not more than that.