Netflix engineers developed a hack that turns your mind into a remote control

Lost in the couch? No problem.
Lost in the couch? No problem.
Image: Reuters/Mike Blake
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Netflix’s engineers have found the ultimate solution for the ultra-lazy.

During the Los Gatos, California-based company’s most recent “hack day,” the folks at Netflix put their minds to work on a tool that means never having to lift a finger to watch TV again: a remote control that you can operate with your mind. That’s right—you can now use your brain to browse Netflix.

Called MindFlix, it uses Muse’s “brain sensing” headband to allow you to navigate the app by moving your head in the appropriate direction. You can select a program to watch by thinking “play.” Netflix detailed the project in a recent blog post.

Developed by four members of Netflix’s product team—who apparently aspired to an unparalleled state of vegetation on their sofas—the mind remote is just a prototype for now; it may never be released to the public.

Netflix holds these 24-hour hack days twice a year so its team can experiment with new technologies—and possibly dream up the next big Netflix product innovation. It’s part of how the company keeps a constant eye on the future of entertainment.

Often, nothing ever comes from the projects. But at hack days past, engineers have played with virtual reality, which Netflix has now devoted an app to, and streaming video over 3G mobile connections for parts of the world that do not have broadband access, something that has come in handy as the company expands globally.

Engineers also developed an Atari-style Stranger Things game at the most recent hack day.

The company occasionally publishes do-it-yourself instructions for its projects online, like its “Netflix and chill” button, The Switch. If Netflix doesn’t decide to manufacture the mind-control device, it could conceivably do the same with the prototype.

The headband may be dorky, but at least you’ll never have to worry about losing the remote again.