Snapchat Acquires NextMind Brain-Reader

Just like pretty much every company these days, Snapchat appears to be in the midst of its pursuit of brand-new digital interaction standards. At least, this is where it should be based on the announcement made on March 23 that the company is acquiring NextMind. That’s a French-based neurotech business that’s expected to drive Snapchat’s research and development in the field of augmented reality.

Previously, the focus of NextMind has been on non-invasive brain-computer interface development. The term refers to technology that enables a device to monitor neural activity in the human brain as the user interacts with a computer interface, translating the information to an idea of their intent. This in turn lets the device act on your desire, i.e. you can trigger an action by simply concentrating on the thought of it. A famous example is hitting a button as you focus on it mentally. Snapchat specifies that NextMind does not literally “read” your brain, not to mention send signals to it, though.

Snapchat is not unique in its attempts to establish a direct connection to the human brain. Meta has been working on the same for quite a while now. Although the company has given up on the idea of total mind reading, it’s still investing efforts in electromyography-powered wrist devices. The idea is to make the controller feel like an extension of your body and send signals to it as you move naturally. While Meta’s invention focuses on signals from your spinal cord, NextMind gathers data from the visual cortex in your brain using sensors.

How does the idea of a non-invasive brain-computer interface make you feel? Does it sound intimidating or promising? What uses for this technology can you think of? Post a comment and share your thoughts down below.

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