Facebook looks to expand AR/VR technology with CTRL-labs acquisition

Facebook has purchased CTRL-labs, a technology company that has developed a neural monitoring wristband.

“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,” wrote Vice President of AR and VR Andrew Bosworth in an announcement on his personal Facebook account.

According to Bosworth, CRTL-labs’ technology can translate signals in your hand muscles into a digital signals, making it possible to control your device without actually clicking a mouse or pressing a button: “It captures your intention so you can share a photo with a friend using an imperceptible movement or just by, well, intending to.”

Why we should care

Marketing teams that have already tapped into AR and VR branding opportunities understand the potential value of such technology, even if Facebook is a long way from integrating neural monitoring into its ad platform. As Bosworth writes, “Technology like this has the potential to open new creative possibilities and reimagine 19th-century inventions in a 21st-century word … It can change the way we connect.”

The question for marketers to consider now is how such technology could be used should it become more mainstream — what are its implications in terms of connecting brands with their audiences?

The brands that get ahead of the AR/VR curve will likely be the ones most capable of maximizing the creative potential that neural monitoring tech may be able to offer in the long run. And with Facebook’s lion’s share of the digital advertising market, integrating such technology into is AR/VR ad ecosystem may not be as far off as we think — giving the company even more of a competitive advantage to attract tech-savvy marketers.

More on the news

  • CTRL-labs CEO Thomas Reardon was the creator of the Internet Explorer project at Microsoft.
  • No financial details were given on the acquisition, but Bloomberg reports Facebook is paying between $500 million and $1 billion for the company.
  • In June, CTRL-labs acquired Myo armband patents from North. CTRL-labs Chief Strategy Officer told VentureBeat the patents cover, “Applications focused on electromyography (EMG) — that is, hardware that measures changes in electrical potential caused by brand-to-muscle impulses.”

About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is a senior editor for Third Door Media, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land, Search Engine Land and MarTech Today. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.

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