Netflix Gadget Could Let You Control Your Streaming With Mind Power

Finding something to watch on Netflix is a seemingly neverending struggle. There are just so many options that narrowing it down to one specific thing you want to start streaming takes up a lot of mental energy.

But there’s a new gadget that Netflix has come up with that might make controlling what you watch on Netflix a little less taxing on the brain.

Netflix engineers have concocted a gadget called MindFlix, which uses a headband to examine your brainwaves and turns those into instructions that tell your streaming device what to do with your Netflix profile. Essentially, you can control Netflix with your mind.

The engineers came up with the device during a recent Hack Day and showcased it in a video.

The MindFlix tester straps on a modified Muse headband and scoots around the Netflix catalogue by moving his head to the side. When he thinks about the word “play,” that starts a particular show or movie.

The video doesn’t seem completely serious, and those concerned about their privacy might be alarmed over the notion Netflix is reading their thoughts needn’t be too worried: the device can’t actually read your thoughts, only your brain waves. Besides, Netflix already probably knows a ton about the things you like thanks to what you actually do watch and rate on the service — no mind reading required.

Muse headbands are designed primarily for relaxation, as Mashable noted, but the Netflix engineers attached a motion sensor and injected some technological wizardry to make MindFlix work.


Netflix frequently holds such Hack Days to experiment with new ideas over the Netflix experience. Previous Hack Days gave birth to ideas like OK Netflix (which plays the exact scene you’re looking for in a movie or show when you speak the dialogue from that scene), Netflix Hue (which can make your Phillips Hue connected bulbs emit ambient lighting that matches what you’re viewing), and darNES, a hack that went viral when some Netflix engineers figured out how to play an extremely low-resolution version of House of Cards using a Nintendo Entertainment System.

The most recent Hack Day had two hacks that played into Netflix’s runaway new hit show from 2016, Stranger Things. The first is called “Stranger Bling” and plays on the motif of a kid being able to send messages from the show’s alternate reality, The Upside Down, through a lighting system connected to an alphabet. Only here, there’s a bunch of LEDs soldered to a sweater, spelling out messages using a wireless Arudino computer.

The Netflix Original series also inspired a retro-style video game collection called “Stranger Games.” One of the games is called Van Dodge, where you play as Eleven and try to not get run over, in a completely original adventure that seems in no way inspired by Frogger. But there’s a twist, in that once you get to the other side and power up, you have to knock the vans over.

The second game sees you attempting to rescue kids who have been trapped in The Upside Down.

The other hacks include a picture-in-picture mode where you can see what other people using your account are streaming at any given time, and a more philanthropic hack called Netflix For Good, which allows you to donate to relevant, well-known organizations after watching certain documentaries or other socially conscious titles on Netflix.

There’s no guarantee that any of these hacks will ever make it to the public, but it’s always interesting to get an insight into the minds keeping one of the most popular entertainment services around functional, to gain an insight into what they see as a potential future for Netflix.

[Featured Image by Paul Sakuma/AP Images]