BBC Uses Brainwaves To Mind Control Our TVs

The fight for the TV remote control may be well and truly over according to the BBC who have just proved that you can choose television programmes using nothing but your brainwaves.

'Mind control your TV' is an actual experiment that saw ten BBC employees selecting options from the iPlayer using the power of meditation directed towards the screen through a headset that looks like something out of the film Gattaca.

The science behind the experiment is fairly simple and has everything to do with the power of concentration.

The headset reads electroencephalography (EEG) brainwaves and consists of a small sensor that rests on the forehead as well as a clip that attaches to the ear. As always, the information is connected to an app.

To begin, the employee guinea pigs had the option to choose either concentration or meditation as the main method of brain control.

When concentration was selected, the electrical activity was displayed on a screen and once a certain threshold of activity was reached, the iPlayer (an experimental version) launched.

Each user was then given the choice of the five most popular programmes at that point in time, highlighting a different one every ten seconds, which ultimately meant that they had ten seconds to really focus and open up the programme -- not great for those of us who are indecisive by nature.

One employee mentioned that using brainwaves was slower than using a remote control while others said the method did require some sophisticated meditation skills as he kept missing the ten second window to choose his programme.

Despite the utter craziness of this mind-bending experiment the technology does have potential to increase the accessibility of media content to people with disabilities.

Head of business development Cyrus Saihan wrote on the BBC blog:

"...People affected by motor-neurone disease or suffering locked-in-syndrome may increasingly be able to use brain-computer interfaces to get a better experience of digital and media services than they currently do, potentially opening up the online world of information and experiences that the rest of us now take for granted."

In terms of scaleability, the BBC who worked with UK company This Place, say the headset is low cost which presumably means we could all own one soon.

However, the technology is still in its infancy and it's probably too early to declare the end of the remote control's reign in all our sitting rooms but, it is safe to say that the fight for our brainwaves is probably closer than we thought.

May the force be with us.

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