BBC tests mind-control TV headset for iPlayer


The BBC has partnered with tech firm This Place, to develop a way people can select programmes using a cheap, brainwave-reading headset.

The headset works with an experimental version of the BBC's iPlayer on-demand platform. Users can turn on and operate the app by concentrating or relaxing their minds.

Along with added convenience of not needing a keyboard or remote control, the device could be a huge benefit for disabled users.

Users can navigate through the iPlayer and select what they want to watch by either concentrating or meditating - either of which produces a measurable change in brain activity.
Cyrus Saihan, head of business development at BBC Digital, said the device which works by measuring brain activity was at an "experimental" stage.

He said: "Hopefully it gives an idea of how audiences of the future might be able to control devices such as TVs with just using their brainwaves."

Writing in a BBC blog, he said a trial run with 10 BBC staff found they could all use the headset to launch the iPlayer and start watching a programme.

He said: "You can imagine a world where instead of having to get up from your sofa or reach for your remote, you just think 'put BBC One on' when you want to watch TV.

"Imagine sitting in your car and thinking 'I want to listen to Radio 4' and hearing the radio station come on during your commute to work. Perhaps you might be able to just think 'give me the latest news' and in response get served up a personalised set of news headlines.

"It's important to stress that it's very early days and while brainwave reading devices are constantly improving, their capabilities are still quite basic - the outputs on our very experimental app were limited to simple binary on/off instructions, for example."

Manipulating electronic devices using brainwaves is becoming more widespread.

For example, in February technology firm Tekever demonstrated how a drone could be remotely controlled using brainpower alone.

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