Facebook has purchased the ‘mind-reading’ technology company CTRL-Labs, as the American social media giant looks forward to the next logical step in the evolution of our Digital lives. An eye-watering investment in excess of £800 million – according to US reports - could well prove to be a shrewd investment in the long-term, as they buy into the concept of wristbands that will effectively determine what you want to do before you can physically get to do it.

The ultimate aspiration for Facebook is believed to be to develop the innovation to enable users to share their photos with their friends and family using their minds alone. The ‘mind-reading’ wristbands being made by CTRL-Labs provide the ability to detect messages that the brain transmits to muscles in the arm in advance of any physical action actually being taken, creating what Facebook bosses believe to be a natural extension of movement.

Digital signal a computer understands

By interpreting the future ‘planned’ movements that an individual intends to make with their hands, signals can be fed directly to a computer. This allows a mouse click, keyboard press or the posting of photos to be made via the online channel without the need for physical movement by a person.

Illustrating his evident excitement at the future possibilities from the major acquisition, Facebook’s augmented and Virtual Reality vice-president, Andrew “Boz” Bosworth spoke of an awareness of “more natural, intuitive ways to interact with devices and Technology.” His vision for Facebook was that “we want to build them.”

He explained that the revolutionary wristband technology acts to decode brain signals and translate them into equivalent digital signals that a device can understand, “empowering you with control over your digital life.”

Largest acquisition for five years

Founded in 2015 and based in the state of New York, CTRL-Labs Corporation provides technology solutions, with a particular focus on the intersection of computational neuroscience, statistics, machine learning, biophysics, hardware, and human-computer interaction. The recent buy-out represents Facebook’s largest acquisition for five years, setting down a clear marker for their ambitions and future direction.

Mixed reaction to the news

There was a mixed reaction to the intriguing acquisition, with some such as technology commentator Azeem Azhar taking to Twitter to intimate that Facebook should “inveigle itself into our lives less, not more.”

Those with an interest in the educational opportunities that the new technology would look to advance seemed to be more appreciative of the potential for enhancing how people could use it to learn, although it could be several years before the final product becomes available to the market.

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