June 17 (UPI) — Comcast on Monday launched a new feature to allow customers with physical disabilities the ability to control their television using only their eyes.
The cable company said the feature is a web-based remote control that pairs with Xfinity X1 customers’ existing eye gaze systems on their tablets or computers. It also works with sip-and-puff switches and other assistive technologies.
Once customers pair their existing devices with their set-top boxes, they can use the devices to send commands to the television, including changing the channel, setting a recording and searching for a show to watch.
“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, vice president 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.”
Some 48 million Americans live with physical or mobility disabilities like spinal cord injuries or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, including some that make it difficult for people to use their hands to use devices like a remote control.
“We are pleased to see how Comcast continues to make their products and solutions accessible,” said Tara Rudnicki, North American president of Tobii Dynavox, which creates eye-tracking software and hardware. “As an assistive technology company, we want to empower our users to live independent lives.”