New Samsung Smart TV to be Controlled by Brainwaves

John Lister's picture

Samsung is working on TV sets that viewers can control with their brains. It's aimed more at people with disabilities than it is the average lazy viewer.

"Project Pontis" research is being conducted with the help of the Center of Neuroprosthetics at Switzerland's Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne.

The initial aim is for users to be able to change channels and control volume without using a remote control. Some sets and remotes do already allow voice commands, so this is both an alternative for disabled users in general, and a solution for people whose disabilities prevent them from speaking.

Eye Trackers Used At First

To start with, the system will use a combination of eye movements and "brainwaves" to transmit commands. Test subjects in the projects will use an eye tracker while looking and selecting movies from a menu.

The test subjects will do this while wearing a headset that houses 64 sensors to measure brain activity. The idea is to build up a pattern of the varying activity levels as they are making the eye-controlled selection with the possible aim of issuing commands simply by "thinking" of the action. (Source:

The concept of brain controlled gadgets is already established and proven. The real task here is fine-tuning the process and developing controllers that can be widely used. At the moment controllers have to be designed to work with a specific user's brain patterns, which makes it difficult to produce the hardware at an affordable price without economies of scale.

Gel Head-Covering Could Put Users Off

The hardware itself would also need some tweaks. The models in the testing require users to have a layer of gel on their head to help conduct the electrical signals, something that wouldn't be desirable for everyday use. (Source:

In the long run, Samsung hopes the lessons it learns from Project Pontis could make it possible to apply the technology to computers and mobile device apps, vastly widening the options open to people with disabilities.

What's Your Opinion?

Do you think this technology will work anytime soon or is it just science fiction? Is controlling a TV really a priority for such research? Can you see any uses for people who don't have physical disabilities?

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pctyson's picture

Why create a TV that is controlled by brainwaves? If you are going to do something like this, why not create a universal remote that is controlled by brain waves? By doing this, it could translate into a completely automated home. Somehow I think that this whole idea is self serving for Samsung. Are they really interested in creating this or does it make for a good "we care" press release? I do not know how they could ever make enough from this to offset the development costs. I hope that they really care and are not just exploiting the disabled.