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Browse Netflix With Your Brain: Engineers Prototype Mind Control Hack

Netflix’s next product innovation may just be mind control: Four Netflix engineers recently built a prototype that allows viewers to browse the company’s TV app without any remote control, and select titles simply by thinking about what they want to watch.

To accomplish this, the engineers relied on a Muse headband, which can sense the brainwaves of anyone who is wearing it. The headband is being advertised as a way to train meditation and mindfulness — but Netflix’s team instead repurposed it as a gizmo to help the mindless who have trouble keeping track of their remote control.

Mindflix was just one of the projects developed as part of Netflix’s internal hack day earlier this month, during which employees had 24 hours to come up with unique and offbeat projects and experiments that could improve the Netflix experience one way or another.

Other projects highlighted in a company blog post Monday included a Christmas sweater capable of spelling out messages, “Stranger Things” style, a donation splash page that would allow viewers to open their wallets for charities after watching documentaries on Netflix, a social viewing experience for customers with multiple Netflix accounts and a “Stranger Things” video game.

Netflix has been doing these kinds of hack days for a couple of years now. The company typically tends to publicly highlight the wackier ideas that won’t likely be part of any actual Netflix product any time soon, but it occasionally also ships products and features that were first thought out during a hack day. For example, Netflix’s first foray into virtual reality came after engineers toyed with the idea of a VR app at a hack day in 2014.

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