In a blog post, Cyrus Saihan, the Head of Business Development for the BBC’s Digital division, explains how the corporation has teamed up with the company This Place to create the prototype application they used for the experiment.
“The way it works is by using an EEG-brainwave reading headset, which then controls a power bar on the side of the screen that responds to how ‘relaxed’ you are. Users are presented with a list of programs to watch and as the app cycles through shows, changing the highlighted show every 10 seconds, if the user wants to select it to watch they simply have to ‘meditate’ with their mind to lower the power bar. Think of it like the power bar in a golf game”, first reported Gizmodo UK
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While impressive, it isn’t too sophisticated at the moment; it is essentially only able to detect one binary input – hence the need for timed switching between shows. But it does make you think about how even a relatively simple implementation like this could open up the iPlayer to people with more limited mobility.
But don’t expect to be controlling your TV with your mind any time soon as this is just an early prototype. But it is a fascinating look at where the future could lead.
In the blog Cyrus Saihan explains that BBC created a ‘Mind Control TV’ prototype, to allows users to open an experimental version of BBC iPlayer and select a TV program to view, using nothing but their brainwaves.
“So does it work?”, he asks and answer, “In a word, yes. It was much easier for some than it was for others, but they all managed to get it to work”
Why Mind Control?
“The idea of being able to simply think about something and then magically make it happen has fascinated people for many years. Whether it’s using ‘the Force’ in Star Wars, spoon bending on stage or The Matrix, controlling objects simply with your brain has a unique appeal and could open up a whole world of possibilities”.
A screen shot of the experimental app (see the ‘volume bar’ of brainwaves on the left hand side)
Once a user launches BBC iPlayer, they are presented with five of the most popular programmes on at that point in time.