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BBC trials mind control of your TV

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The BBC has carried out a series of experiments that allow users to control iPlayer and their TV using their thoughts in a move that could, one day, revolutionise how we watch telly and, from a telemedia perspective, interact with it.

For the project the BBC took a simple low cost brainwave reading headset and, working with UK based user experience studio This Place, created a ‘Mind Control TV’ prototype. It allows users to open an experimental version of BBC iPlayer and select a TV programme to view, using nothing but their brainwaves.

It’s an internal prototype designed to give BBC programme makers, technologists and other users an idea of how this technology might be used in the future.

Here’s some footage of staff trying it out for the first time and an explanation of how it works.

So does it work? “In a word, yes,” says Cyrus Saihan, Head of Business Development, BBC Digital. “Our 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. And it’s been a similar story for everyone who’s tried it out in our BBC technology Blue Room since.”

The stuff of science fiction, thought control would naturally make using the TV – or any service – easier for the handicapped and disabled, but it could also revolutionise controlling devices and entertainment services, not least mobile. In many ways the tech is better suited to individual consumption such as mobile and tablet services than TV – people already fight over the remote, imagine if it became a literal battle of wills with your other half?

Certainly one to watch.

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