Accessibility: Turning up the television or changing the channel is something most of us take for granted, but for people without the use of their arms, its a real-life challenge. Along came voice remotes to solve that, but what about those with ALS? Enter the Xfinity X1 remote with eye-gazing technology.
Comcast announced on Monday that it is incorporating eye-tracking technology into its Xfinity X1 web remote. The accessibility feature will allow those with physical disabilities to control their TV with their eyes.
To be clear, Comcast is not providing first-party eye-tracking hardware. Instead, it is adding support for pretty much all existing eye-gaze hardware and software currently on the market including tech from Tobii. The X1 web remote also works with Sip-and-Puff switches.
"We are pleased to see how Comcast continues to make their products and solutions accessible," said North America Tobii Dynavox President Tara Rudnicki. "As an assistive technology company, we want to empower our users to live independent lives. With the X1 eye control now enabled with eye gaze, it will come to great use for many of them."
To activate the feature, customers with the equipment just need to visit the X1 remote website and sign in using their Xfinity ID and password. Once it is paired with the cable box, anytime the user gazes at one of the remote buttons, it sends the appropriate signal to the television.
In addition to the usual remote functions like changing the channel or volume, the user can gaze-type voice commands to search for content of particular interest, like "gameshows" or "watch TBS." They can also program their DVR using the technology.
Comcast is the first cable provider to offer Eye-tracking support. The feature is the latest in a line of accessibility offerings that Comcast has added to its service including a talking TV guide and a voice remote.