Hulu hackathon leads to eye-tracking controls for Roku

Other ideas include a watch party feature and smart-home integration.

Of the 40 project ideas that came out of Hulu's annual hackathon this summer, more than a quarter addressed the needs of users with disabilities. Today, Hulu shared some of those accessibility-focused concepts.

One feature, Eye Remote for Roku, allows you to control the device using eye-tracking. We saw a similar idea pop up in a Netflix hackathon last year, and this summer, Comcast revealed an eye-control remote for users with limited mobility.


Another project, Campfire, allows Hulu viewers to watch content together -- even when they're apart. It enables video and text chat as you watch Hulu content. And Hulu Immersion syncs your Hulu video content with IoT devices like smart home light bulbs, smart thermostats and smart speakers, so the lights might dim or flicker as you watch a show. The goal is to blur the boundaries between your TV and surroundings.


While there's no guarantee that any of these will become official Hulu products, accessibility has become a larger focus of hackathons. As we saw with Microsoft's Xbox One Adaptive Controller, hackathons with a focus on inclusion can lead to breakthrough ideas.