If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like for Professor Charles Xavier to watch TV, the BBC might have the answer.
Working with This Place, the broadcaster has developed a way to decide what you watch on your television with a brainwave-reading headset. In other words: the BBC has invented a way to control your TV with your mind.
This Place’s technology, which they call MINDRDR TV, may sound like something out of X-Men, but it relies upon another piece of techology that you will already be familiar with: Google Chromecast.
The system requires users to wear a Neurosky EEG (brainwave) sensor that wirelessly connects to an that is cast to the telly using Chromecast. The user than alters their mental state to select what is played on the TV – in the case of the BBC’s trials, 10 BBC staff members attempted to control an experimental version of BBC iPlayer.
Users can choose whether the system detects concentration or relaxation from their brain waves, then focus on doing this to play a programme, or do it again to exit a menu.
“It was much easier for some than it was for others, but they all managed to get it to work,” said Cyrus Saihan, head of business development for the BBC’s Digital division.
“It’s an internal prototype designed to give our programme makers, technologists and other users an idea of how this technology might be used in future,”
Indeed, the technology is aimed to be a solution for users who may not be able to use traditional TV remote controls, due to a range of potential disabilities.
“We are looking to work with individuals and organisations to adapt MindRDR TV to new platforms and expanding functionality,” says This Place’s website. “If you are interested in working with us, or want to learn more about MindRDR TV or other Innovations at This Place, please contact us.”