NEWS

How Smart Homes Empower People with Disabilities

June 12, 2017

People with disabilities, just like anyone else, do not like relying on caregivers. They prefer living an independent and productive life. That is why most people with disabilities work hard to participate in society like everybody else despite the difficulties they face. Home automation technologies can help reduce those difficulties and allow them to live more independently.

Voice Control

First, voice control features in devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home lessen the need for someone to reach out and push a button or turn a dial. You can quickly ask Alexa or Google to dim your lights, play the music or set the thermostat at a preferred temperature. Recently, Apple released an ad showing just how a person with quadriplegia can use Siri to do things like turn on the lights, unlock their front door, and even write an article through voice control.

The person on the ad is Todd Stabelfeldt, who is a complete quadriplegic, which means he doesn’t have any movement below his shoulders. He said to NBC News that he did not want his wife taking care of him because he believes that a spouse is a lover and a friend, not a caregiver. Stabelfeldt runs an IT consulting business from his home office and also finds time to help his wife around the house and run his TSF charity foundation. All this is possible because of assistive technologies like Apple’s HomeKit accessories.

Security

People who are hard of hearing, blind, or partially blind face challenges in keeping their property secure. Smart camera makers like Nest allow users to view live footage of people knocking on their door and can detect motion and send alerts to user’s smartphones or tablets. Security companies offer daily camera monitoring services for their users and can call police or dispatch their private security in case of an emergency.

There are also many non-paid security options like using smart locks such as the Kwikset lock that allows you to unlock your front door by just touching the lock. You do not have to worry about finding your keys to your house or fumbling through your bag or purse when you get home from work. Your smartphone and Bluetooth power the smart lock.

Entertainment

Multi-room speakers like the Sonos PLAY speakers allow you to enjoy quality sounding music in every room in your house. They are wireless speakers and can be controlled using an app on your phone. Apart from that, they offer clear quality sound and deep bass that will keep you entertained. There are also smart home systems that allow you to control your TV using your smartphone or voice control.

Touchscreens

Smartphones and tablets are great smart home remote controls for disabled people. You can use your phone to control things like TVs, blinds, and even turn on a stove. Wall mounted tablets can be used to help disabled people monitor systems like HVAC and alert them if a door or window in the house is still open.

People with muscular dystrophy disorders have an easier time dealing with touch screen remotes than remotes that require pressing a button. Apps like IFTTT allow you to make several smart devices in your home work in unison with little or no intervention from you.

Wi-Fi

Another important thing that most people take for granted is the wireless nature of most smart home devices. With wireless technology, there is no need for connecting several devices with wires. This is because the smart devices communicate using Wi-Fi or other wireless protocol like ZigBee and Z-Wave.

This not only saves on cost but also prevents accidents caused by tripping on wires or short circuit related accidents. A wireless system also reduces clutter in your home saving you time that you could have spent organizing all of the cables.

You can also control devices remotely using Wi-Fi. You do not have to drive back home from work to turn off your thermostat or lights. Your smart devices can also send you alerts if something wrong is happening in your house and so on.

Home automation makes life easier for disabled people and most people in general. It also makes it simpler and more convenient for caregivers to care for individuals who are disabled. For more information about home automation, feel free to visit our website.

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