Facebook has acquired a start-up that is developing devices that can pick up electrical signals from the brain and deliver them to computers.
CTRL-Labs has designed a wristband that can identify signals sent by hand to the brain asking them to move it, and decode them.
It can broadcast that command – for example, to press a button – on a computer or other device.
It also “takes hold of its intent”, Facebook VR president Andrew Bosworth said.
A post on his personal Facebook page stated, “So you can share a picture with a friend who wants to do well, or simply, using an unmarked movement”.
Facebook has not confirmed a CNBC report that claimed the deal was between $ 500m and $ 1bn (£ 0.4bn and £ 10.12).
There was a mixed reaction to the news.
‘A few years down the road’
Tech commentator Azim Azhar tweeted, “Facebook needs to underestimate itself in our lives, not more.”
“I am very curious to see what the response of regulators and legislators is,” wrote Forrester analyst Fatemeh Khatibalo.
Below Andrew Bosworth’s Facebook post, Josh Chan, the founder of an educational app, said the news was exciting.
“As a teacher [I’m] imagining how this can change how we all learn,” he said.
Facebook indicated shortly before the product came to market.
“The CTRL-Labs technology is an innovative input that Facebook hopes will be used to improve the upcoming Facebook AR / VR [augmented reality / virtual reality] experience down the road to improve the user experience for a few years. Does, “it said.
Facebook may have more to say about the new acquisition on Wednesday at its annual Oculus VR headset event, which the company acquired in 2014 for around 2bn.