What Exactly Is CTRL Labs and Why Is Facebook Buying It?

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Ever hear the expression 'the body follows the mind's last thought'? 

Well in this case, the device follows the mind's last thought. 

Here are the quick-and-dirty details of Facebook's (FB) - Get Report acquisition of CTRL Labs. 

The Deal 

Facebook bought CTRL Labs for between $500 million and $1 billion. CTRL Labs is a start-up that makes a technology that allows people to control their devices with their brains. There may be a huge difference between those two numbers in percentage terms, but it's pocket change to Facebook. 

CTRL had raised $28 million from Amazon (AMZN) - Get Report and Google (GOOGL) - Get Report earlier in 2019. 

The Technology

CTRL's technology is in the form of an armband that reads impulses inside the human body. When a person wants his or her device, which could be a computer or a phone, to execute an action, the armband will enable the device to to do so when the person has the thought. There's no need for the person to control the device manually. 

Facebook's Vice President of Augmented Reality Andrew Bosworth broke it down.

"Here's how it'll work: You have neurons in your spinal cord that send electrical signals to your hand muscles telling them to move in specific ways such as to click a mouse or press a button. The wristband will decode those signals and translate them into a digital signal your device can understand, empowering you with control over your digital life," Bosworth wrote in a Facebook post. 

He added, "you can share a photo with a friend using an imperceptible movement or just by, well, intending to." 

The Significance

This is part of Facebook's longer-term vision to integrate augmented reality and virtual reality into its broader business.

Facebook actually has a subsidiary called Facebook Reality Labs. Reality Labs is also currently working to develop augmented reality smart glasses. 

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