Comcast is expanding options for customers with physical disabilities, launching a new feature Monday that will allow its Xfinity X1 customers to change channels using only their eyes.
The feature will be especially useful for customers with spinal cord injuries and ALS, who use eye tracking equipment to help navigate their lives in other ways. They’ll also be able to set recordings and search for a show using the feature.
“Changing the channel on a TV is something most of us take for granted but until now, it was a near-impossible task for millions of viewers,” said Tom Wlodkowski, Comcast’s vice president of accessibility in a statement. “When you make a product more inclusive you create a better experience for everyone and we’re hoping our new X1 feature makes a real difference in the lives of our customers.”
It’s a fairly unique move for the company. Competitors, such as Time Warner Cable, offer voice commands and large button remotes, but few (if any) offer eye searching.
48 million people in the U.S. currently live with physical or mobility disabilities. Comcast’s eye-control technology will be compatible with existing eye gaze hardware and software, as well as “Sip-and-Puff switches and other assistive technologies.”
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