Comcast's eye tracking remote makes cable TV more accessible

Comcast today announced the roll out of new eye control remote that makes it easier for those with disabilities to change channels or set recordings using only their eye movement. Dubbed simply Xfinity X1 eye control, the system seems pretty straightforward, as it work with existing eye gaze systems and only requires pairing with your Xfinity account and set top box. Even better is that it doesn't appear to cost anything extra on top of your standard Xfinity subscription.

Support for this new accessibility feature isn't just limited to eye gaze hardware, though. Comcast also says that it's compatible with Sip-and-Puff switches and voice control software, so it's fairly robust in the kinds of assistive technology it can use.

Getting it set up seems pretty easy too. All you need to do is head over to Xfinity's accessibility site and log in with your Comcast credentials. From there, you'll need to select the TV Box you want to control and pair Comcast's Accessible Remote to it, which can then be pulled up on your assistive hardware (or used along assistive software installed on a PC or mobile device).

Along with this announcement, Comcast published a video featuring a user named Jimmy Curran. Curran has spinal muscular atrophy, which affects the part of the nervous system responsible for muscle movement, and was one of the first users to test X1 eye control. You can see the video (which also serves as something of a quick demo for the tech) embedded above.

When everything is set up, it sounds like users have a pretty wide range of tools at their disposal. They'll be able to change channels, look through the guide, set recordings, open apps like the X1 Sports App, open the accessibility menu to turn on things like closed captions and voice guidance, and even type out voice commands using eye movement. With Comcast noting that there are 48 million in the US with physical disabilities, this could go a long way toward making leisure time a little more leisurely.