Meta Acquired a Neural Interface Startup in 2019

Nick Statt, reporting for The Verge in September 2019:

Facebook today announced that it will acquire neural interface startup CTRL-Labs, a company that makes a wristband capable of transmitting electrical signals from the brain into computer input.

The deal, which Bloomberg reports is worth somewhere between $500 million and $1 billion, is the most substantial acquisition Facebook has made in the last half decade, since it paid $2 billion to acquire virtual reality company Oculus VR in 2014.

I don’t remember noting this acquisition at the time, but a friend reminded me of it the other day after my sort-of “Whoa, what?!” reaction to Mark Zuckerberg just casually suggesting that hand-tracking might be merely a stopgap interface for XR headsets until we have “neural interfaces”.

From that same Verge report:

Bosworth says CTRL-Labs, which was co-founded by Internet Explorer creator and neuroscientist Thomas Reardon, “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.”

Patrick Kaifosh is CTRL-Labs’ other co-founder, and he is also a neuroscientist. Reardon, the company’s CEO, left his career in software engineering to study neuroscience and received his PhD in 2016.

That’s quite the second career for Reardon. If I recall correctly, Internet Explorer was fairly popular at one time.

Friday, 16 February 2024