Facebook has made several high-profile acquisitions, with one of their most recent acquisitions of Oculus Rift for a staggering two billion dollars. Now, rumors are swirling that the company is on track to buy another innovative startup, CTRL-Labs. Makers of an innovative device worn at the wrist that uses brain waves to allow users to control electronic devices.
Estimates are that the social media giant will pay between $500 million and one billion dollars to acquire it, which is one of many startups creating BMIs, (Brain Machine Interfaces).
CTRL-Labs offers a product worn on the wrist, while most of its competitors rely on devices worn on the head. In a few cases, they require implanted chips in the brains of those who want to use their tech.
In this regard, what CTRL-Labs offers borrows from two different technologies featured on TED talks in recent years. Pranav Mistry's "Sixth Sense" technology (which translates gestures into commands that a computer can understand). And, the Emotive headset, which scans your brain for changes and translates those signals into commands.
Honestly, the industry is still too small, and the technologies are too unrefined to know whose products will wind up adopted as the de-facto standard. However, with Facebook placing a large bet on the industry is a powerful indication that these technologies (whatever form they ultimately take) are the future.
It's a long-term bet, to be sure. Although there are products you can buy today, they only offer limited functionality. It may take at least five years before we see a killer app for the new tech. Still, one way or another, the day is coming when we will indeed control computers with our brains.