J Becher


Smart Home Technology Gives a Disabled Client Full Control Again

ELAN, alongside J. Becher & Assoc.’s; give a quadriplegic man full control of his home again with touch-enabled lighting, smart TV controls, front door entry and voice activated buzzer door entry through Google Voice. Along with a multitude of customizable features, he is able to access and surf the internet through a tongue driven mouse or through dictation software driven by Dragon-Enabled voice control. Through this amazing technology, and the co-operation of two amazing smart home technology companies; this individual was able to become fully independent once again.

“Technology is the colossal equalizer,” Elsner said, “and today’s touchscreen devices and home automation systems are raising the standard of living for people with disabilities. For this client, it had been years since he had been able to control his own home. Once his health worker left for the day, everything in the apartment basically stayed as it was until they returned. He needed assistance repositioning his bed, operating the TV, answering the phone and even turning off the lights.”

Without this technology, the client was left with no control over anything, except the things his medical professionals had turned on. With only one semi-functional hand, he wasn’t able to use traditional tablets or change channels from his TV remote. Meaning he would have to watch whatever was broadcasting on one, single channel; as well as not being able to turn lights on or off when he wanted to. Meaning, however the medical aid left his apartment; is how it would stay until they returned the next morning.

Technology Integration with Automation & Control

Through Smart Home Automation & Control, and integration with his medical devices; J. Becher & Assoc.’s and Cybermation Inc., collaborated to build a system that allows full control of the apartment through large touchscreen buttons or a tongue-driven mouse. Mobility was of the utmost importance, so the tech experts worked together to figure out ways to connect the Invacare motorized bed and the Stanley motorized door with the ELAN system.

“Sometimes we have to get creative,” said Thomas Ardolf of Cybermation Inc. “My work with medical devices used to be focused on health monitoring and emergency response, but today we are providing solutions that drastically improve daily life and even help disabled people find employment. With a little creativity, we were able to connect the Invacare bed and the Stanley motorized apartment door to the ELAN system, through structured wiring and technology integration; which he accesses through a large touchscreen laptop. We then custom-built an extra-large user interface with bigger buttons so his dexterity and vision is not an issue.”

Home Technology System Gives Freedom

Since the installation of his new-found home technology systems, the one bedroom apartment works seamlessly. He can adjust his bed in the morning, turn his Lutron lighting system on or off, change channels on one of his two TV’s, and open the door to his apartment to exit… all with one simple ELAN automation app on his laptop. Now, once he moves outside the apartment; other features become incredibly important.

“One of the biggest challenges was figuring out how to provide full use of the phone and intercom system, because he can’t use a standard keypad and that’s how people enter the building,” Ardolf added. “We came up with a novel solution using Google voice – when he’s outside, the client can use the intercom to dial his apartment phone. After four rings it redirects to Google Voice, which rings on his laptop, allowing him to accept the intercom buzz and open the door. The process for answering a phone call is similar, routing through Google voice so it rings on the computer.”

Even with the home automation features and full technology integration of the clients home; that wasn’t enough for Ardolf. He wanted to make sure the client could get the most out of his computer as possible. This idea turned into creating swiveling mounts for his bed and wheelchair, enabling him to take his laptop wherever he wanted to. With the laptop mounted on his wheelchair, he can use his tongue to control a 3-D printed dual-joystick “mouse” attached to the wheelchair that allows him to move the cursor and click, which he cannot do with his hand. For typing he uses Dragon dictation software that allows him to surf the web, and create documents that could help him find a job.

This project was completed for a modest budget of about $17,000 including all research, labor and equipment.

New hardware included:

  • 3 Lutron Dimmer Switches
  • ELAN System Controller
  • Wireless N Router
  • Panamax MR400 Power Conditioner
  • Xantech IR Emitter 

“In our case it’s local governments, such as county governments, financing these projects and leading the way forward for disabled citizens,” Elsner said. “It’s a win-win solution, providing citizens with greater freedom and self-sufficiency, while helping reduce expensive in-home health care costs over the long term. Giving someone the ability the potentially work when they otherwise couldn’t is a life-changing experience, for the technology recipient but also for us working on the project. As technology continues to advance we expect more local governments and disability advocacy organizations to pursue automation and dictation technologies to improve lives across the country.”

About ELAN

ELAN, from Core Brands; delivers an award-winning connected home and commercial technology innovations to customers around the world. Using iconic control, audio, power management, connectivity and video distribution these brands: ELAN, Furman, Gefen, Niles, Panamax, Proficient, SpeakerCraft, Sunfire and Xantech. To learn more, visit http://www.corebrands.com/about-core-brands or http://www.elanhomesystems.com/

About Cybermation

Cybermation’s staff has a rich history of integration services since 1986, and with a solid position in the digital healthcare market, Cybermation can provide systems and systems integration services. Whether it is a simple stand-alone PERS (Personal Emergency Response System), an array of caregiving technologies, or a system that can serve as a vital sign data collection system. For more information, visit http://www.cybermationinc.com/

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