Narcoleptic film fans might enjoy a prototype upgrade to Netflix: the service can use a Fitbit activity tracker to pause itself if you fall asleep while watching.
It’s one of several ideas created by Netflix engineers at a company hackathon to unleash new ideas which could become part of the service.
Among other ideas the teams developed were using Bluetooth as a login key for other devices, an easy keyboard for games console logins, custom playlists and PIN-protected user profiles.
Netflix blogged: “It is not unusual for us to see a lot of really good ideas come from Hack Day, but last week we saw some really spectacular work.
“The hackers generated a wide range of ideas on just about anything, including ideas to improve developer productivity, ways to help troubleshooting, funky data visualizations, and of course a diversity of product feature ideas.”
Engineers took two days off from their regular duties for the Netflix Hack Day, brainstorming ideas than working through the night to deliver them, before presenting them to their peers to be given a five-star rating.
The sleep-tracking idea takes advantage of Fitbit, a wearable activity monitor which also recognises when you’re asleep.
Signs of a snoozing user prompts Netflix to gradually decrease the player volume and raise an onscreen prompt – if there’s no response it will pause and remember where it stopped for the next time.
Netflix Beam removes the problem of having to log in to your account at a friend’s house or with their tablet, by using a Bluetooth connection to the Netflix app on your phone. If you leave, your account goes with you.
The Radial keyboard is a simple alternative to the terrible experience of using a games console controller to input your login details, with an attractive circular keyboard.
Finally, Custom Playlists and PIN-protected Profiles do what they say, enabling you to lock your profile on devices like smart TV, and an alternative to the wacky playlists Netflix creates based on your viewing habits, like Conservative Gory Horror Romance.
Some of the ideas are more practical than others, but Netflix says the real goal is to let the engineers have some fun, and there’s no guarantee that any of the prototypes will be released to the public.