Before pivoting to smart glasses, Thalmic Labs (now North) tried its best to make its Myo gestural arm band controller the future of user input. Now, another startup is picking up the baton, acquiring patents related to the product and customer data.
The IP is being bought by CTRL-labs, a New York-based startup full of neuroscientists aiming to build a wrist-worn input device that translates electrical signals from your body into computer input. The startup closed a $28 million Series A last year with funding coming from Vulcan Capital, GV and others.
In December, CTRL-labs launched its own development kit for a device similar in scope to the Myo armband but more robust in its sensing capabilities.
While Thalmic Labs had its own ambitions for extracting input from the body’s electrical signals, CTRL-labs tells me that the patent purchase is largely focused on acquiring the tech behind the armband’s gestural controls, which translated sweeping arm movements into input mechanisms. The startup hopes that by integrating the tech into future development kits, developers will have more options for functionality as the company strives to fine tune its more complex readings.
The purchase marks the close of an era for North, which has raised nearly $200 million according to CrunchBase and marked a major pivot last year away from its Myo armband towards its new Focals smart glasses. North has been full steam ahead on the smart glasses and seems to have dumped plans to pursue the Myo band further so offloading the patents seems like an easy choice as the team labors to scale sales of its smart glasses that starts at $599 ($799 with prescription lenses).
For its part, CTRL-labs exec Josh Duyan tells me that the connection between the two firms came about due to mutual investor Spark Capital making the connection. Duyan declined to disclose the price of the deal.