The study, called Project Pontis, aims to make Samsung's TVs more accessible to people with physical disabilities such as quadriplegia. The company wants to "give users with physical disabilities the ability to switch channels and adjust the volume with the brain."
The Swiss branches of Samsung launched the project three months ago in collaboration with the Center for Neuroprosthetics of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland. The company introduced the television on Thursday at its developer conference in San Francisco.
"How can we make people accessible who can not move or whose freedom of movement is extremely limited," said Ricardo Chavarriaga, senior EPFL researcher The project with Samsung said on a panel at the Samsung Developer Conference.
"We do tech that's more complex, it's smarter, but we should not forget that this tech is associated with humans," he added
The first step in creating a TV-controlled TV is to do so to collect a sample of how the brain behaves when, for example, the user wants to select a movie. Samsung and EPFL combine both environmental and brain scan indicators to create a model and apply machine learning so that the user can select eye movement and brainwave shows.
To collect the brainwaves, a user wears a headset with a sensor connected to the TV and a computer.
Samsung and EPFL are also working on a system that goes further and relies on brain signals alone for users who are unable to reliably control their eyes or other muscles, Chavarriaga said.
"One thing we need to consider is that everyone is different," he said.
Samsung is hosting its annual developer conference in San Francisco this week. SDC reflects Samsung's great urge to get developers to develop software specifically for their devices. In the past, this meant creating apps that work on the edge of Samsung's curved smartphone displays or using the pen pen. This year, this focus has focused on Bixby and artificial intelligence. However, Samsung has also urged developers to develop apps for other products, such as televisions and home appliances.
While developers are not developing apps that can be brain-controlled, Samsung is doing research in this area. And it's not the only company trying to control devices using brainwaves. SpaceX and Tesla, CEO of Elon Musk, founded in March 2017a company committed to creating "neuronal spikes" where tiny electrodes are installed in the brain to transmit the thoughts.
And neuroscientists around the world were researching ways to create. The technology is still in its infancy, but could one day replace touchscreens and voice assistants in devices. At present, most brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are only created for people who have suffered serious injuries, causing them to be partially or completely paralyzed.
While Samsung's first prototype also targets accessibility, it's still too early to say if we'll one day control all of our devices with our brainwaves, said Martin Kathriner, director of public affairs at Samsung Electronics Switzerland GmbH , The current hardware has limitations. For the sensor helmet, a layer of gel must be applied to the head, which consumers probably will not do at home.
"For us, that's an idea of accessibility," he said after CNET's Samsung SDC panel. "If someday it will be considered pro-couch potatoes for us, I have no idea."
Samsung plans to work on a second prototype by the first quarter of 2019 and then begin testing in Swiss hospitals where we begin to investigate. This situation, currently a prototype, is being perceived by patients, "said Kathriner.
CNET's Gift Guide: The best place to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list this season.
5G is your next major upgrade: everything you need to know about the 5G revolution.