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.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • fundo logo

    Google‘s Area 120 Is Testing Fundo, a Crowdfunding Service for Creators (EXCLUSIVE)

    Google’s skunkworks lab Area 120 has been quietly testing an events-centric crowdfunding service for YouTubers, Variety has learned. Called Fundo, the service allows creators to invite their fans to virtual meet & greet sessions and other paid online events. A Google spokesperson confirmed the testing in a statement provided to Variety: “One of the many [...]

  • Telling Lies - Logan Marshall-Green

    Sam Barlow's 'Telling Lies' Government-Surveillance Thriller Game Sets Release Date

    After more than two years in the works, “Telling Lies” — the investigative thriller from acclaimed game creator Sam Barlow — is ready to take the stage. The game, produced with and released by Annapurna Interactive, will be available next Friday, Aug. 23, via Steam and Apple’s Mac and iOS app stores. “Telling Lies” will [...]

  • YouTube logo

    YouTube Will Stop Letting Copyright Holders Seize Revenue via Manual Claims on Very Short Music Clips

    YouTube is pushing back against overzealous copyright policing by music companies. Starting in mid-September, the video giant will forbid copyright holders from making manual claims to commandeer revenue generated by YouTube videos that include very short music clips (e.g., five seconds of a song) or “unintentional” music (like music from passing cars). “One concerning trend [...]

  • Chelsea Handler memoir book buy online

    Chelsea Handler Bonds With Alexa in iHeartRadio Smart Speaker Promo

    iHeartRadio has teamed up with Amazon to promote Chelsea Handler’s podcast “Life Will Be The Death Of Me.” Beginning this Thursday, users of Amazon’s Echo smart speaker and other devices with Alexa built-in can opt to get their mornings started with Handler cracking jokes and exchanging banter with the smart assistant. Users simply have to [...]

  • David Messinger, Activision Blizzard

    Activision Blizzard Hires CAA Veteran David Messinger as CMO

    Activision Blizzard tapped David Messinger, a former 15-plus-year veteran of CAA, as its first corporate-wide chief marketing officer. Messinger, based in Santa Monica, reports to Coddy Johnson, Activision Blizzard’s president and COO. It’s the first time the video-game company has appointed a CMO who will oversee the global marketing operations across all of Activision Blizzard [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content