Tag Archives: Brain-Controlled TV Remote

Creating a brain-controlled TV remote with Arduino


All you need to do is think about changing the channel. Couch potatoes, rejoice! 


If you’ve ever wished of turning on the TV or switching a channel by simply thinking it, you’re in luck. As recent projects have demonstrated, such sci-fi-like magic is well on its way of not only becoming a reality, but more accessible for DIYers to tap into the technology. In fact, Maker Daniel Davis — who runs the website “Tinkernut” — has developed a homemade mind-controlled TV remote using an old Star Wars Force Trainer game and Arduino.

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For those who may recall back in 2009, the brain-computer interface toy was released as part of Uncle Milton Industries’ Star Wars Science line. It included a headset that was capable of detecting a mind’s electric fields (similar to an EEG) and relaying the signals to a tube that used a fan to levitate a ball in the air. The harder the user focused, the harder the fan blew, and the higher the ball was suspended.

Upon tearing down the game, Tinkernut discovered a NeuroSky EEG chip embedded inside the accompanying headset, which he decided to connect to an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) to collect and convert the raw EEG data onto a computer. After scavenging an IR LED and receiver from an old VCR, the hardware was just about complete, and so, the Maker went on to create an IR remote.

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“Once this program is uploaded to your Arduino, open up the serial monitor, point a remote at the IR receiver and start pressing buttons. You should see a response in the results in the serial monitor screen. This will be the button code. You want to write down this code for later use,” the Maker writes.

With just a little coding, Tinkernut was able to combine both BCI and remote functionalities into one mind-blowing project that would enable the helmet to switch a TV on and off, simply by concentrating.

Intrigued? You can head over to the Maker’s official log, while also checking out his Arduino Brain Library on Github.