Snap confirmed this morning that it has acquired NextMind for an undisclosed amount. The Paris-based startup is best known for its eponymous controller, which uses brain signals to transmit images through a PC interface. After announcing the $399 Dave Kit at CES, the company began shipping in the second quarter of 2020. We tried it later that year and called it a “rare wow factor”.
“NextMind joins Snap to help drive long-term augmented reality research at the Snap Lab,” the company wrote in a blog post. “The glasses are an evolving, iterative research and development project, and the latest generation is designed to support developers as they explore the technological frontiers of augmented reality.”
The company is reportedly joining the social media company’s Snap Lab research wing. It also marks the end of the NextMind SDK as a standalone product. Tech elements are sure to appear in future Snap products, including cameras and augmented reality games like Spectacles.
The company, founded in 2017 by a team of neuroscience engineers, uses a wearable headband with an embedded electroencephalogram to detect and read neural activity in the cerebral cortex. When a user views an image on the screen, the headset can determine if the user wants to move it. Such mind-controlled interfaces are of great importance for augmented reality. In particular, head-mounted displays have long suffered from a controller problem that such technologies can provide a solution to.
“When you interact with a computer interface, this technology monitors neural activity to understand your intent, allowing you to press a virtual button,” Snape said. “This technology does not read minds or send signals to the brain.”
NextMind raised a $4.6 million seed round in mid-2018. The team will continue to operate from Paris, while its 20 (mostly technical) employees will join Snap Labs and focus on long-term research and development.
Last May, Snap bought wave optics, allows you to use components in augmented reality headsets. In the same month the company was seen The fourth-generation glasses have been called “the first glasses to bring augmented reality to life.”