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Samsung’s New Technology: A TV Remote That Can Read Signals from Your Mind

First came the TV remote and then came the feature where you could shout out the command to the remote to make changes on the TV. Now you don’t need either. The remote will read what’s on your mind and will automatically make the changes. Sounds like a gimmick? Not if you learn the details of this new technology that Samsung, the South Korean technology giant, shared with its developers at the annual conference held in San Francisco. The company says it has developed a TV remote that can change a channel or increase or decrease the volume on the television without the user having to use his or her hands or voice. It will read the mind of the user and send the command to the TV.

Very Useful for People with Speech Impairment

The way Samsung looks at this new technology is that there are many TV viewers who can see but may be paralyzed and can neither use their hands nor can they speak. But their brain may be active and they can watch and enjoy television programs/films on TV. Such people will find this new remote control extremely friendly. Quadriplegia is a condition in some people which has some traits described here. The special software to activate this feature will be developed after studying the brainwaves of the individual and then putting them through proper diagnosis to know what kind of programs are liked by the individual. Then the machine will have to come up with the situations where the brain thinks something and the feelings are reflected through the eyes.

Samsung calls this special project ‘Pontis’. Center of Neuroprosthetics of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland is the research institution that Samsung has tied up with, to develop the remote control.

User Has to Wear Sensors

But it is not as simple as it sounds since the person using the ‘Pontis’ remote has to wear on his/her head, a gear that has 64 sensors in them and it has an eye-tracker built in it. As mentioned, the gadget will use a lot of machine learning and possibly artificial intelligence technologies to understand from the signals transmitted from the user’s brain and the eye movement to decide on the exact program, say a particular film and then play it on the television in front of the person. Samsung has also added that it may have to do more work and research on this new gadget for it to be totally successful. The company feels there may be people whose eye movement may not be trackable due to other deficiencies and the only deciding factor will be the signals from the brain.

It is obvious that this technology is still a work in progress. How long will it take to first perfect the technology and then build the hardware and make the changes in the software is not clear. But the effort in this direction must be appreciated.

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