Gadgets

This BBC headset lets you control TV with your mind

Remote controls? They're so 20th century. The future of channel hopping lies in mind-reading headsets.

That's the thought behind a new gadget devised by the BBC and technology group This Place, creators of an inexpensive mind-control headset. 

Used in conjunction with a concept version of the BBC iPlayer, users wearing a Neurosky EEG (brainwave) sensor are able to turn on and operate the platform by concentrating and 'relaxing' their mind.

EEG technology is far from new, with the first studies on the electrical phenomena of the brain presented back in 1875. With EEG readers such as This Place's headset, scientists have been able to create various applications that respond to focused or unfocused brainwave activity: earlier this year Shortlist "controlled" film sequences of an adapted 47 Ronin.

The concept version of the iPlayer isn't sophisticated enough to change to a programme you're thinking of, but rather has preset responses depending on whether the user is focusing their thoughts - thinking hard on a particular maths problem, for instance - or relaxing the mind. In the iPlayer build, users have to concentrate their thoughts when a bar moves over one of a series of programme options. 

It's hoped that one practical use of the technology could be in aiding people with a range of disabilities who can't use conventional controls.

For more insights into the tech, watch the following video from the BBC below.