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Eye Tracking: Comcast Launches Accessibility Tool That Will Let Users Control The TV Using Only Their Eyes

Cable company Comcast will add ‘eye control’ to its suite of accessibility features, allowing physically disabled viewers to operate TV’s using only their gaze.

By partnering with popular makers of eye-gaze hardware, Comcast said its feature will allow users to do just about anything that can be done with a physical remote, including using the guide, scheduling recordings, and navigating other menus.

Popular systems like those made by Tobii Assistive Technology use special cameras to track the movement of people’s eyes and then translate those movements onto a screen.

Each time someone gazes at a button, the corresponding action is initiated in Comcast’s interface.

Comcast’s inclusion of those technologies mark a first among large telecom providers and also further add to a host of other features rolled out by the company throughout the last several years.

One feature built into Comcast remotes which has become popular among able-bodied and disabled customers is voice-command which allows viewers to press a button and speak into their remote to execute commands.

In a video from Comcast, Philadelphia resident Jimmy Curran, who has a condition called Spinal Muscular Atrophy, confining him to a wheelchair, demonstrates how the technology could improve the lives of people with physical disabilities like his.

‘I don’t need to depend on others to use the remote and that is a liberating feeling,’ said Curran.

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‘Technology is enabling me to be more independent.’

While eye-tracking technology like those being used by Comcast’s newest feature has found myriad application in assistive technology, other disciplines — including online marketing and advertising.

As noted in a recent Vice op-ed by Avi Bar-Zeev, who spent almost three devades working on AR and VR applications for Amazon Microsoft and more, eye-tracking systems generate valuable data for marketers looking to grab people’s attention.

‘Bundled into VR headsets or AR glasses, eye-tracking will, in the near-future, enable companies to collect your intimate and unconscious responses to real-world cues and those they design,’ writes Bar-Zeev.


By using cameras to track the movement of a one’s eyes, both software and hardware let people control interfaces with their gaze.

Comcast is partnering with makers of eye-tracking hardware to empower people with physical disabilities.

Customers like Jimmy Curran, who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy, say the technology gives them greater independence.

Eye-tracking has also found a place in marketing and advertising, particularly for monitoring user habits.

Eye-tracking software has many applications, some of which fall within the realm of advertising and marketing

‘Those insights can be used entirely for your benefit. But they will also be seen as priceless inputs for ad-driven businesses, which will learn, model, predict and manipulate your behavior far beyond anything we’ve seen to date.’

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Despite various benign or even beneficial uses like making films and video games more visually appealing, the data generate by eye-tracking technology could also be used to gain unprecedented insight into what consumers are looking at without them ever having to ‘click’ or querie.

Bar-Zeev says that insight wouldn’t be unlike mind-reading.

Source: Dailymail

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