Facebook has announced plans to build a mind-reading wristband that will let people control their devices "as a natural extension of movement".
The company has acquired CTRL-labs, a start-up that is exploring ways for people to communicate with computers using brain signals, in a deal that CNBC said was valued at $1 billion (£805 million).
Andrew Bosworth, Vice President of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality at Facebook , announced the deal in a Facebook post .
"We spend a lot of time trying to get our technology to do what we want rather than enjoying the people around us," said Bosworth.
"We know there are more natural, intuitive ways to interact with devices and technology. And we want to build them."
CTRL-labs is reportedly working with brain science and machine learning to create interfaces for people to control and manipulate computers by thinking.
Its development-stage wrist-worn device uses sensors to track gestures and would act as an input device.
"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," Bosworth explained.
"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.
"It captures your intention so you can share a photo with a friend using an imperceptible movement or just by, well, intending to."
This is not the first time Facebook has expressed an interest in mind-reading technology.
Back in 2016, the company's chief executive Mark Zuckerberg outlined his vision for a kind of "techno-telepathy" where people could capture and share thoughts straight from their heads.
Then, in 2017, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook was working on a brain-computer interface that would allow people to communicate using only their minds.
"We're building further out beyond augmented reality, and that includes work around direct brain interfaces that one day will let you communicate using only your mind," he said.
Facebook gave an update on this work in July, stating that ultimate goal was to create a system that can "decode silent speech" without implanting electrodes into the brain.
The company has teamed up with researchers from the University of California to develop a pair of augmented reality glasses that can detect brain activity by monitoring oxygen levels in the brain.
"While measuring oxygenation may never allow us to decode imagined sentences, being able to recognise even a handful of imagined commands, like 'home,' 'select,' and 'delete,' would provide entirely new ways of interacting with today's VR systems - and tomorrow's AR glasses," Facebook said.
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