4.4.2022 | Snap buys NextMind for their future AR glasses
Meta, Apple, and a slew of other tech companies are building augmented reality glasses with displays that place computing on the world around you. The idea is that this type of product will one day become useful in a similar way to how smartphones transformed what computers can do. But how do you control smart glasses with a screen you can’t touch and no mouse or keyboard?
It’s a big problem the industry has yet to solve, but there’s a growing consensus that some type of brain-computer interface will be the answer. To that end, Snap said on Wednesday that it has acquired NextMind, the Paris-based neurotech startup behind a headband that lets the wearer control aspects of a computer — like aiming a gun in a video game or unlocking the lock screen of an iPad — with their thoughts. The idea is that NextMind’s technology will eventually be incorporated into future versions of Snap’s Spectacles AR glasses.
NextMind’s first product, a $400 headband developer kit introduced two years ago, will be discontinued. But the company’s roughly 20 employees will remain in France and work for Snap Lab, the hardware group responsible for Spectacles, a forthcoming camera drone, and other unreleased gadgets. A Snap spokesperson refused to say how much the company was paying for NextMind. The startup raised about $4.5 million in funding to date and was last valued at roughly $13 million, according to PitchBook.