Samsung, the popular electronics manufacturer, has announced headway into their work to develop technologies that allow televisions to be controlled with brain waves alone. This technology is being developed with the disabled in mind - such as quadriplegics or people with other conditions that affect the use of their hands. Samsung's goal is to create the ability for these people to change channels and adjust sound volume with their mind.
This project was started in partnership with the Center of Neuroprosthetics of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland. Their first task? Figure out what signals the brain puts off when it wants to control a TV. Once they determined those factors, researchers combined those with environmental factors and used machine learning to allow the user to select shows from a menu using eye movements and brainwaves. However, at this time the user must wear a headset that houses 64 sensors and enlist the use of an eye tracker. Samsung's goal is to move the technology a step further and do away with the eye tracker to make the system accessible to those who do not have reliable control over their eyes as well as making the system usable with fewer customizations for individual brains.
Samsung isn't alone in the software for your brain market - Elon Musk has dabbled in the tech with his Neuralink startup and scientists have long been working to create a digital interface for the brain. Should this technology ever come about it stands to replace touch screens and voice assistants.
The current barrier to the technology is that users must coat their head in a conductive gel to allow the sensors to pick up signals. It's not the most stylish thing.
Samsung will continue to work on its technology and refine it with the help of the disabled - only time will tell where the technology goes.
This article was based on a November 8, 2018 CNET article by Shara Tibken.