A new technology that reads brain-waves to allow users to change TV channels with their mind has been developed in the UK.For its latest project, the BBC took a simple low cost brain-wave reading headset and, working with UK based user experience studio This Place, created a ‘Mind Control TV’ prototype.
Change TV Channels With Your Mind
It allows users to open an experimental version of BBC iPlayer and select a TV programme to view, using nothing but their brain-waves.
A first trial run saw 10 BBC staff members try out the app, and all were able to launch BBC iPlayer and start viewing a programme simply by using their minds.
“It was much easier for some than it was for others, but they all managed to get it to work,” Cyrus Saihan, head of business development for the BBC Digital, wrote in a blog post.
However, Saihan said the technology was still at an ‘experimental’ stage. An important potential benefit that brainwave technology might offer is the ability to improve the accessibility of media content to people with disabilities.
For example, 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.
The electroencephalography (EEG) brain-wave reading headset has one small sensor that rests on a user’s forehead and another on a clip that attaches to the ear.
These sensors measure electrical activity in the brain. In the case of this experimental app, a user can select either ‘concentration’ or ‘meditation’ as the brain control mechanism.
If the user selects ‘concentration’, the headset and app monitors their level of concentration and a ‘volume bar’ of brain-waves is displayed on the screen, to visually illustrate their level of concentration.
Once a certain threshold of concentration has been reached, a message is sent to the tablet to perform an action – in this case, to initially launch BBC iPlayer.