The BBC Envisions a Future Where You Control Your TV With Your Mind


It is now 65 years since the television remote control as we know first appeared. While it may have evolved here and there as far as the technology behind is is concerned, it has remained largely the same aesthetically and of course functionally. What if somebody could make things better? What if you would never need a TV remote control in your living room to flip through channels before finally deciding on what you’re going to watch?

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), has been looking into the future. The BBC is interested in pioneering a future where viewers of its TV programmes get to watch what their minds are set on seeing at that particular moment. It has been testing a product along those lines. Dubbed Mind Control TV, it incorporates a brainwave reading headset and a version of BBC’s iPlayer.

So how does Mind Control TV work?

This is what the BBC says about it:

The brainwave 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. The headset and app monitors their level of concentration and a ‘volume bar’ of brainwaves 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.

When a user launches BBC iPlayer they’ll be presented with five of the most popular programmes on at that point in time. Each of these programmes is then highlighted, one at a time, changing programmes every 10 seconds. When the programme a user wants to watch is highlighted, they have 10 seconds to concentrate and open that programme so that it starts playing.

The BBC has been testing this internally with a small subset of users.

If it eventually makes it to the market, it could be an attractive proposition to not just us tech heads who will obviously be blown away but by people who watch television but need better tools to control their experience. Like quadriplegics for instance.