Comcast has announced the launch of eye-control capability for its X1 video platform.
According to the cable operator, the new feature lets those with physical disabilities like spinal cord injuries or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) navigate their pay TV program guide using only their eyes.
Web-based system pairs up with the user’s set-top and allows the user to access a virtual, onscreen numerical and directional interface, controlling it with their gaze.
Users can change the channel, launch the guide, search for content and set recordings without assistance. They can also use the eye-control system to set up Voice Control shortcuts for the future.
It's not a bad public relations asset for Comcast, which certainly needs one. But with more than 48 million people living with physical or mobility disabilities, there's definitely a market to be served here.
“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, VP of accessibility at Comcast. “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.”
“Comcast knows that TV and media access is a powerful part of life for most people,” said David Dikter, CEO, Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA). “That X1 can now be used with eye gaze and an array of other assistive technologies shows a new level of commitment to access and independence for persons with disabilities. A company that understands that users have their own specialized technology and works to bridge these technologies in a way that delivers value, deserves applause.”