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BBC in mind control brainwave

Published 18/06/2015

The remote control could become a thing of the past if the BBC's 'mind control' device develops further
The remote control could become a thing of the past if the BBC's 'mind control' device develops further

Audiences could soon be swapping their remote control for mind control after the BBC developed a prototype device that lets viewers operate a TV through their brain activity.

Users were able to operate a headset that allowed them to navigate through the iPlayer and select what they wanted 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."

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