Resolving Mobility Impairment Issues with a "Smart Home"

There are a multitude of developments,
all bringing convenience and hands-free options. 
Guest post by Beth Kelly

Keeping a finger to the pulse of technology news is revealing interesting developments in automation for the home that could make major improvements in quality of life for those dealing with mobility issues. A whole new class of innovative devices and designs, including products promoted by top manufacturers in a variety of industries, like consumer electronics giant Samsung and home security mainstay Brinks, are coming to market. They're built to use smart electronics and microprocessor technology to automate common tasks and make your appliances work better and use less energy, and changing the way you interact with your home’s everyday systems. These essential gadgets are destined to become a solution for the issues faced by independence-minded individuals. Here are a few examples of how technology is helping solve mobility problems. 

Speech Recognition

No matter how difficult and frustrating mobility issues become, there's a solution in the form of voice control. Vocalized commands issued to an electronic module enter through a microphone and are digitally processed by speech recognition technology. Thanks to the development of software able to intelligently differentiate and act upon spoken keywords and commands, hardware devices can beam an infrared signal to any device that's normally controlled by an ordinary remote control. The result is intimate control of your local environment, of televisions, consumer electronics, Blu-Ray players, and much more.

Blending the discrete electronic elements of a remote control and a speech recognition module, the VoiceIR Environmental Voice Controller is a fine example of this concept, using over 120 commands that vary in complexity. This is hands-free dominion over dozens of household electronics, expandable to garage doors, lighting, and more.

Invaluable Apps and Add-ons

The realm of mobile technology brings focus to accessibility by providing Apps that enable mobility challenges to be resolved with minimal or no movement involved. Capacitive touchscreen technology is part of the answer, as is App architecture designed to match individual needs, whether they be partial or full paralysis, loss of muscular control, or trouble with fine motor control. The HouseMate environmental control system is a specially designed resolution for people living with such obstacles, bringing an innovative App interface to operate infrared devices just as a regular remote control would. Any device, entertainment component, or household item with an infrared eye can be activated by a touch of a button. Unable to touch the screen of an Android device? There are configurable options to move a chin or hand joystick, or to use an HID mouse accessory.

Bluetooth connectivity, infrared control, and smart App design enables anyone with mobility problems to use an Android device to take command of the home. Apple device Apps are available, but the iOS platform is more locked down in comparison to the open-source Android operating system.

This is only the smallest sampling of developments coming to market. Imagine a network connected home that has cameras at every door. An App delivers keyless entry to approaching guests, removing the strain of trying to get to the door and allow people into your house. Check your entry camera and talk through an intercom to query strangers before using a voice command or your own App to open the door. There's a multitude of these developments, all bringing convenience and hands-free operation.

Beth Kelly is a freelance blogger and writer for She’s become passionate about the intersection between technology and healthcare issues, and how the newest innovations can help make life easier. She lives and works in Chicago where she can often be found spending her free time lounging by the lake.

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About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership helps caregivers and their loved ones with answers to their caregiving questions, including information about home health care products and supplies, from our Wisconsin-based team of Product Specialists who are all current or former caregivers. The company’s Web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers — from arthritis to assisted living, and Parkinson’s to prostate cancer — as well as access to more than 3,000 home care products for incontinence, skin care, mobility, home safety and daily living aids. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn Wilson of Neenah, Wisc. Visit to learn more or call 1-800-985-1353.


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