Publicized by the BBC in a blog post, prototype tests showed staff members using headsets that monitored “meditation” and “activity” to allow them to decide which program to select on a TV set.
The headset could render the traditional remote control obsolete, blog author Cyrus Saihan said.
Though the technology is still at an “experimental” stage, Saihan said developers are already getting positive results.
“So does it work?” he wrote. “In a word, yes. 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 program 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.”
“You can imagine a world where instead of having to get up from your sofa or reach for your remote, you just think ‘put BBC1 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 personalized set of news headlines,” he wrote.
Saihan said headsets would change the way disabled and paralyzed individuals accessed entertainment.
“An important potential benefit that brainwave technology might offer is the ability to improve the accessibility of media content to people with disabilities,” he wrote.
“For example, people affected by motor-neuron 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.”
However, the headsets might not become a working reality for some time yet, Saihan said, as their “capabilities are currently quite basic.”
“Hopefully it gives an idea of how audiences of the future might be able to control devices such as TVs just using their brainwaves.”