The BBC is hoping to make its iPlayer service more accessible to disabled users by developing a version that can be controlled with the mind alone.
Using a relatively inexpensive headset to monitor the user’s brainwaves, individuals with limited mobility are able to use BBC iPlayer to watch their favourite programmes.
The new technology, called “Mind Control TV," has been developed by the broadcaster in collaboration with technology firm This Place. An experimental version of iPlayer was used in conjunction with the headset, which displays BBC programmes on screen for 10 seconds at a time. The headset can tell whether individuals are mentally relaxed or concentrating, so users simply have to focus when their programme of choice is on screen in order to select it.
"It's an internal prototype designed to give our programme makers, technologists and other users an idea of how this technology might be used in future," explained Cyrus Saihan, head of business development for the BBC's digital division.
So far, the technology has been trialled by 10 members of staff at the BBC, with Mr Saihan admitting that some found the technology easier to harness than others. Although the service is very much at the prototype stage, it is hoped that in the future it could help individuals with disabilities to carry out a wide range of tasks that are not currently possible.
The BBC is not the only company looking to utilise the power of brainwaves in order to control electronic devices. Earlier this year, technology company Tekever revealed that it was developing a drone that could be controlled via electronic sensors placed around the operator’s head.