Comcast is launching new controls for its X1 television service that will allow people with certain disabilities to operate their cable TV systems using their eyes.
Xfinity X1 eye control is a web-based remote for tablets and computers that pairs with an existing eye gaze system, and lets users change channels, set recordings and search for programming. Xfinity customers can use their credentials to pair the web-based remote with their set-top-box. Then, each time the customer gazes at a button, the web-based remote sends the corresponding command to the television.
"We are pleased to see how Comcast continues to make their products and solutions accessible,” said Tara Rudnicki, president North America at Tobii Dynavox, a provider of touch and eye tracking assistive technology hardware and software, in a statement. “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.”
“Comcast knows that TV and media access is a powerful part of life for most people,” said David Dikter, CEO at the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA), in a statement. “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.”
This is not the first time that Comcast has added features designed to help people with disabilities access its services and programming. In 2015, the company included video description with its live production of “The Wiz.” In 2014, the company launched a talking channel guide that reads aloud channel names, show titles and DVR commands.