Control Netflix With Your Eyes

Forget the remote control. Netflix employees have come up with a way to browse the video streaming service using only a pair of eyes and a tongue.

At Netflix’s biannual “Hack Day,” the company’s employees showcase unorthodox (and often whacky) ideas they have for Netflix’s various platforms. Netflix has been organizing these 24-hour “hackathons” since 2014.

At the most recent Hack Day in October, a team of employees presented a feature called “Eye Nav,” which enables users to navigate the Netflix iOS app using only their eyes and facial expressions.

Eye Nav uses Apple’s facial recognition and augmented reality software. Through Eye Nav, a Netflixer can direct a cursor through Netflix’s menus using only her eyes. To select a particular show, the user has only to stare at its icon for a few seconds.

The user simply sticks out her tongue to move backwards in the menu.

Most Hack Day projects do not become regular features on Netflix platforms. Eye Nav may have a better chance than most, however, for its potential to make the app more accessible to people with disabilities.

Eye Nav’s creators expressed hope it “will become a part of mainstream Accessibility APIs (application programming interfaces) in the future.” Watch how Eye Nav works here.

Other ideas featured at October’s Hack Day include one called “Jump to Shark,” which lets viewers of the satiric disaster movie Sharknado skip any part of the film that doesn’t include sharks.

Past ideas include “Spookyflix.” With Spookyflix enabled, the eyes of characters featured in menu icons followed the Netflix user’s cursor around the screen.

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