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Netflix to bring cool eye-control navigation technology for the iOS app

Nov 8, 2018, 1:05 pm

Netflix brings a way for you to put down your remote and use expressions like eye movements. A group of Netflix employees recently decided to work on an out-of-the-box project that sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie. Netflix is seen showing prototypes that allow users to control their applications by using eye movements.

This year projects included an overlay on the Netflix app that uses Apple’s Face ID and ARKit augmented-reality toolkit to let a user navigate by using their eyes and tongue. The face-navigation project is one of several interesting ideas to come out of this year’s version of the hackathon.

A trio of Netflix employees Ben Hands, John Fox, Steve Henderson posted a video you can see included at the top of this post that shows how it works. From their description of the idea, which relies on Apple’s ARKit: “We care a lot about Accessibility, so we were eager to try a hack that would allow people to navigate the iOS app just by moving their eyes,” as per the YouTube video’s description.

More than 100 employees participated in this year’s hackathon at Netflix’s Los Gatos, California headquarters for two days in mid-October. Among the other ideas to come out of it was “Jump to Shark,” an add-on for the Netflix app that would let viewers of Syfy’s gloriously ridiculous Sharknado movies, which Netflix also streams, skip ahead to the best parts.

Well as the hack was produced in 24 hours, so it may not be stable enough for real-world use, but it’s an interesting idea. However, the larger goal of Netflix’s hackathon isn’t necessarily about creating features, but they sometimes serve as inspiration for features further down the road.

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