Netflix hack lets you control its app with your eyes

This could be a step towards better accessibility features in the future (or maybe just the laziest way to chill for some people).

Gordon Gottsegen CNET contributor
Gordon Gottsegen is a tech writer who has experience working at publications like Wired. He loves testing out new gadgets and complaining about them. He is the ghost of all failed Kickstarters.
Gordon Gottsegen

As part of the company's (mostly) biannual Hack Day, Netflix showed off a new feature called Eye Nav, an accessibility feature that lets you control its iOS app with different facial movements, using Apple's Face ID, and built using ARKit. The "hack" lets you navigate the Netflix app, select a title and start watching all by using eye movements. To stop the video or dismiss a screen, you stick out your tongue.

The feature was announced on Wednesday as one the features Netflix tested during its Fall 2018 Hack Day. As at many companies, hack days give Netflix's engineers a chance to experiment with new ideas that may or may not be adopted later.

If Eye Nav were to ever be integrated into the app, it could make Netflix more accessible for people with motor impairments. In September, we saw eBay use a similar concept that allowed people to shop by moving their head. The three who developed this method -- Ben HandsJohn Fox, and Steve Henderson -- said they were "hopeful that this kind of technology will become a part of mainstream Accessibility APIs in the future."

Another hack from Netflix Hack Day lets viewers skip straight to the action scenes of certain movies. Netflix calls this feature "Jump to Shark" because it uses the movie Sharknado for its demo.