Cox Offers New Eye-controlled TV Remote for ALS, Other Patients

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by Diana Campelo Delgado |

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A new feature of Cox’s accessible web remote enables people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and others with disabilities to control their TVs using their eyes.

The free remote also can be used with other assistive technologies, such as sip-and-puff.

“We are committed to improving our products to ensure all Cox customers can use our products, and will continue to create solutions with accessibility built in,” Pat Esser, president and CEO of Cox Communications, said in a press release.

A considerable number of people with neurodegenerative conditions, such as ALS or Parkinson’s disease, have difficulties with their motor function. That can it make it hard to perform simple daily tasks like using a conventional television remote.

To address this, Cox created an accessible and free web-based remote control for tablets and computers that allows assistive technology devices to control the TV from a web browser. Users can operate the remote with eye gaze software, switch controllers, and sip-and-puff, which the individual controls by gently blowing into a tube.

“Innovative technology like this gives people with disabilities an added level of independence,” said Steve Gleason, a former NFL football player with ALS and the founder of Team Gleason, an advocacy organization that has provided more than $10 million in adventure, technology, equipment, and care services to people with the degenerative disease.

Cox developed the eye-tracking technology to allow people who have lost fine motor function from degenerative conditions or due to paralysis to have the ability to access their video guide with their eyes. With the remote, users can navigate Cox’s Contour 2 menu, change TV channels, set a recording, search for programming, and access integrated apps.

“We appreciate that companies like Cox continue to empower their users by adopting products like the Accessible Web Remote, which allows every customer to do something most people take for granted, like controlling their TV,” Gleason said.

In the last three years, Cox has partnered with organizations such as Team Gleason to design and develop more accessible and inclusive products. Additional technology from the company enables people to control their thermostats or lights using their voice, or helps people with hearing or speech impairments make phone calls.

Gleason is a former New Orleans Saints football player who was diagnosed with ALS in 2011. His foundation’s mission is to improve the lives of ALS patients by delivering innovative technology and equipment, as well as providing an improved life experience.

“Cox is grateful to partner with Team Gleason because we believe in its mission to improve life for people living with conditions such as ALS,” Esser added.

To learn more about the accessible web remote, please visit this website.