Samsung’s next TV could be an experiment in mind-control

Samsung’s smart TV software might be able to recommend what to watch, but it can’t read your mind… yet.

The tech giant is currently working on new technology that would enable physically disabled viewers to use mind control techniques to pick out content.

Project Pontis could make existing Samsung televisions accessible for users with physical ailments that prevent them using a remote control. It says the tech will enable “users with physical limitations to change channels and adjust sound volume with their brains.”

CNET reports that Samsung is working with the Center of Neuroprosthetics of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, and testing will begin in Swiss hospitals in early 2019.

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The scientists are currently taking brainwave samples to determine how the mind behaves when we have a desire to watch movies. The end result could be the ability to select content using cues from the brainwaves and then eye movements to confirm.

Once selections have been made, the software will be able to build up a viewer profile and inform future suggestions, streamlining the content selection process.

Samsung announced the project, which has already been underway for three months, during a session at its developers conference in San Francisco last week.

“How can we provide accessibility to people who cannot move or who have extreme limitations on their movements,” senior scientist at EPFL Ricardo Chavarriaga said during the panel. “We’re making tech that is more complex, that is more intelligent, but we should not forget this tech is being made to interface with humans.”

Naturally, there’s a need for a headset here, which has 64 sensors. It is connected to a computer and that display is shown on the television screen. Following the prototype testing in hospitals, Samsung says it currently has no intentions to build this tech out into something for mainstream consumers.

“To us it’s an accessibility idea,” the company told CNET. “If it’s applicable to us one day as pro couch potatoes, I have no idea.”

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