Why Facebook Is Acquiring CTRL-labs: Details About The Deal

By Amit Chowdhry ● September 25, 2019
  • Facebook recently announced it is acquiring CTRL-labs. The terms were undisclosed, but it was reportedly valued at between $500 million and $1 billion

Facebook recently announced that it is acquiring CTRL-labs — which is a New York-based company building an armband that is able to translate movement and the neural impulse of users into digital input signals, according to TechCrunch.

Prior to the acquisition, CTRL-labs raised $67 million in total funding (Crunchbase profile) from investors like GV, Lux Capital, Alexa Fund, Spark Capital, Founders Fund, Matrix Partners, Breyer Capital, and several others.

Facebook did not disclose the terms of the deal, but Bloomberg’s sources revealed it was somewhere between $500 million and $1 billion. And Facebook plans to integrate CTRL-labs with Facebook Reality Labs division.

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Before CTRL-labs’ CEO and co-founder Thomas Reardon launched this company, he was part of the team at Microsoft that built Internet Explorer. And his resume also includes the position of CEO at Avogadro (2000-2001) and CTO of OpenWave Systems (2001-2005). CTRL-Labs chief science officer Patrick Kaifosh is also listed as a co-founder of the company.

CTRL-labs’ CTRL-kit product is a non-invasive neural interface platform that enables developers to reimagine the relationship between humans and machines with new and intuitive control schemes.

“We know there are more natural, intuitive ways to interact with devices and technology. And we want to build them,” Facebook AR/VR VP Andrew Bosworth wrote in a post announcing the deal. “It’s why we’ve agreed to acquire CTRL-labs. They 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.”

Here is what Facebook VP of AR/VR Andrew Bosworth wrote in a post about the deal:

With this acquisition, Facebook will also gain the armband patents of North (previously known as Thalmic Labs). CTRL-labs had acquired the patents for the Myo armband earlier this year.

CTRL-labs’ head of R&D Adam Berenzweig had told TechCrunch that its technology is directly on the body and sense the signal going from the brain to the hand. “There are no issues with occlusion or field-of-view problems — it doesn’t matter where your hands are, whether they’re in a glove or a spacesuit,” added Berenzweig.