Last updated on November 15th, 2015 at 12:07 pm

Mind Control TV for the BBC iPlayer

We’re obsessed with mind control and most of us won’t believe the future is here until we have it. Mind control and flying cars, anyway! Well the future might just be over the horizon as old Auntie, the BBC, has released details of mind control for the iPlayer!

It sounds like stuff of science fiction, but the BBC has managed to get people to control TV with just their mind… and some nifty gismos strapped to their heads! The technology has been around for a while with devices that read basic changes in brain activity no new thing. But the BBC teamed up user experience studio This Place to see if they could integrate that technology with BBC iPlayer. And they did!

The equipment used is actually less sophisticated that you might have believed. All that was needed was two electroencephalography (EEG) sensors (sounds complicated but they’re nothing too exotic). One is rested on the forehead and the other next to the ear. Together these sensors are able to read the ‘volume’ of a Joe’s thoughts, described as ‘concentration’ or ‘meditation’ states.

Through this data, the headset is then able to provide binary feedback to the customised iPlayer. It was tested on ten BBC employees and every one of them was able to select the programme of their choice!

Using a binary commands type system for the iPlayer in its current interface would be impossible, so the team at This Place generated system where the active selection changed every ten seconds. When the programme you want to watch is highlighted, the user simply concentrates. Simple, really.

The actual practicality of this type of technology isn’t really substantial yet. But the BBC say it could be used to help people with a broad range of disabilities who cannot use traditional TV remote controls very easily. So don’t go throwing away your remotes just yet…

Check out the BBC video about the project here.



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