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Facebook's Oculus VR headset. Photo: Amy Osborne / AFP / Getty

Facebook announced Monday that it will buy CTRL-Labs, a startup developing an arm-worn device that reads brain signals. The companies did not disclose the deal's price tag, but reports range from upwards of $500 million to as much as $1 billion.

Why it matters: Facebook has been developing its own brain–machine interface for several years, but this is a major acquisition that could propel its technology quickly forward — and in a way that's potentially less invasive of users' privacy.

Details: CTRL-Labs will join Facebook's Reality Labs division, and will drive new ways of interacting with virtual worlds, Facebook VP Andrew Bosworth wrote on Monday.

  • The startup has been developing wrist-worn devices that can read brain signals from nerves in the arm. It can tell, for example, if you are about to move a finger, but don't move it.
  • As Facebook's Bosworth described it: "It captures your intention so you can share a photo with a friend using an imperceptible movement or just by, well, intending to."

CTRL-Labs founder Thomas Reardon told Axios in an August interview that his company had already begun making some devices available to developers and academic researchers, in hopes of "beginning a new platform wave."

  • "In my dream, people feel frustrated when they take off the band," Reardon said.
  • While the device can pick up a decision to move, it can't decipher higher-level thoughts from your head.
  • That's unlike a different strain of technology that Facebook is working on: head-mounted devices that it says will allow users to do things like type with their thoughts.

Go deeper

48 mins ago - World

Tunisian president ousts prime minister, suspends parliament amid unrest

Tunisians stage a protest in response to the problems in the health sector in the country, demanding the resignation of the government and the dissolution of the parliament in Tunis on July 25. Photo: Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Tunisian President Kais Saied announced Sunday that he had dismissed the country's prime minister and frozen the parliament amidst mass protests in the country, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: The move, which comes on the 64th anniversary of Tunisia's independence, escalates Saied's longstanding feud with Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and poses a challenge to the 2014 constitution that "split powers between president, prime minister and parliament," per Reuters.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Pelosi appoints GOP Rep. Kinzinger to Jan. 6 committee

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Sunday that she has appointed Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) to serve on the House select committee investigating the Jan 6. Capitol riot.

Why it matters: Pelosi's announcement comes after she rejected two of the five Republican appointments offered by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

USCP chief: Officers testifying before Jan. 6 committee "need to be heard"

Thomas Manger, the new chief of the U.S. Capitol Police, Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

New Capitol Police chief Tom Manger said officers testifying before the Jan. 6 select committee this week "need to be heard."

Driving the news: The select committee's first hearing is set to take place on Tuesday and will feature testimony from law enforcement officers who were subject to some of the worst of violence during the insurrection.