How CTRL-Labs is pioneering mind-controlled computers

by Katie Fustich
July 10, 2018
image via shutterstock

Forget the stereotypes: New York City’s tech scene isn’t all e-commerce and real estate. Companies like CTRL-Labs are proving NYC is just as much a home to cutting-edge technological research as cities like Boston and Los Angeles.

Though just founded last year, CTRL-Labs is quickly becoming a powerhouse of artificial intelligence, machine learning, neuroscience and experimental computing —  some of the hottest topics in tech.

The company was founded by the team of Patrick Kaifosh, Thomas Reardon and Timothy Machado. The founders brought a blend of neuroscience and computing knowledge to CTRL-Labs’ mission, which is how to create safe and useful interactions between the human mind and computers. CTRL-Labs is pioneering technology that uses facial recognition, gesturing and even neuron analysis to create hands-free computer programs.

The company’s first product, the “CTRL-kit,” will feature a combination of hardware and software designed to be incorporated into other organizations’ tech stacks.

At first, the idea of controlling a computer using only your mind sounds a little too dystopian to excite. Yet the work being done at CTRL-Labs has many powerful applications, such as creating accessible technologies — such as communication and messaging software, medical monitors, and nontraditional learning tools — for the very young, elderly or disabled. While the applications in fields like medicine and education immediately come to mind, the possibilities are endless.

“Imagine a world where computers are natural extensions of thought and movement,” is the CTRL-Labs mission statement. This philosophy is a decidedly different spin on the current developments happening in the world of artificial intelligence.

As acclaimed author Ted Chiang pointed out in a BuzzFeed editorial late last year, the realm of technology is putting itself at risk of developing dangerously “superintelligent” AI, simply out of a desire for power and to prove itself. CTRL-Labs aims to offer a more sophisticated future in which artificial intelligence can work to benefit, and even harmonize, with human goals.

This success isn’t merely hypothetical: CTRL-Labs has quickly proven its hype in the form of a two-part Series A funding; raising $11 million and $28 million, respectively, within less than one year of opening up shop.

As the company continues to grow as a result of its latest funding, and its CTRL-kits ship this year, expect to hear more from CTRL-Labs as they chart a new course for the future of human-computer interaction.

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