We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

dozing off

Netflix engineers experiment with sleep tracking feature

The feature, created as part of Netflix’s hack day, would pause a TV show or film if you’ve fallen asleep.

EVER FALL ASLEEP midway through an episode of House of Cards? Or do you find the process of using your controller to enter in details monotonous?

If you answered yes to either of those questions, you could be in luck. Some engineers in Netflix designed features to help solve these problems during the company’s Hack Day, along with a few other projects.

Hackathons allow employees to experiment and come up with new ideas around the service within a set period, ranging between a day and a week. The majority of tech companies hold them to work on a specific problem, but they’re also held just to see what ideas people would come up with.

In this case, Netflix’s focus was on providing a “fun, experimental, and creative outlet for our engineers.” Teams started putting together projects last Thursday morning, worked through the night and presented a demo to everyone on Friday morning.

Some of the ideas were pretty clever. One project, Netflix Beam, allows you to share Netflix videos between Apple devices by bumping them together by using Apple’s Bluetooth-based iBeacon technology.

(Video: NetflixOpenSource/YouTube)

Another project uses a Fitbit device to check if you’ve fallen asleep during a show or movie. If you have, it will pause the show or movie and bookmark the moment you nodded off so you can resume watching the next day.

(Video: NetflixOpenSource/YouTube)

Other handy creations include an easier way to enter text using a game controller, custom playlists and PIN-protected profiles.

Netflix warns that since these projects were created as part of Hack Day, there’s no guarantee that they will ever see the light of day. Still, the ideas would be pretty handy should they ever make their way to users and it gives an idea of what the engineers think will help improve the service.

Read: Turns out a lot of people binge-watched House of Cards last weekend >

Read: Netflix finishes the year strong as total membership grows to 44 million >

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.