Snap Snaps Up Headband Maker NextMind for the Firm’s Thought-Based AR Control Technology

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What if you could navigate an AR interface using your thoughts?

Photo by New Spectacles from Snap.

That’s the concept behind NextMind’s technology and it is a huge reason why social media platform Snap scooped them up in a deal worth upwards of $USD 13 million based upon NextMind’s last funding round. Based in Paris, it is expected that the team formerly behind NextMind will continue to work there under their new Snap ownership. Among the company’s products is a $USD 400 headband that The Verge reports enables users to control in-game actions such as unlocking your iPad’s screen using your thoughts.

How does it all work? Using our favorite modern standby, machine learning.

“We use your top-down attention as a controller. So when you focalize differentially toward something, you then generate an [intention] of doing so. We don’t decode the intention per se, but we decode the output of the intention,” CEO Sid Kouider told Venture Beat.

And, in their blog post, Snap offered some reasoning behind the purchase:

“Before joining Snap, NextMind developed non-invasive brain computer interface (BCI) technology in order to enable easier hands-free interaction using electronic devices, including computers and AR/VR wearables and headsets. This technology monitors neural activity to understand your intent when interacting with a computing interface, allowing you to push a virtual button simply by focusing on it. This technology does not “read” thoughts or send any signals towards the brain.

We’re looking forward to working with NextMind to overlay computing on the world and improve the way that technology can serve humanity.”

TechCrunch speculates that this acquisition is part of Snap’s ongoing efforts to bolster its AR credentials as well as future product offerings in this area. Currently, Snap has the Spectacles we discussed some time back and, likely, future iterations of this could include NextMind’s technology.

Of course, if you know anything about this kind of stuff, we’d love to hear about it (or just your opinion on thought-controlled technology) in the comments below.

Check out our other photography news at this link right here.

[The Verge]

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