10 Amazing Home Tech Products for Independent Disabled Living
The rise of mind-blowing technology solutions is making it easier for those with disabilities to live independently. Check out these innovative smart solutions.
Smart Home Hubs
Most smart devices need to operate via a home hub using an operating system, so to take advantage of the latest technology solutions, you’ll need to start by choosing your hub. Probably the best-known system is Amazon’s Alexa which works through hubs such as the Echo and Echo Dot. However, other systems, such as Google Assistant (via the Google Home Hub), and the Apple HomeKit, allow you to control your smart devices with an iPad, iPhone or Mac. Many smart devices are compatible with several systems, but some will only work with one, and some companies have their own hub and operating system for their connected devices, such as Samsung SmartThings.
Of course, home hubs can be used to manage a whole host of tasks. Take a look at these 15 unexpected ways to use Alexa.
Smart Door Locks
Even for the able-bodied, fumbling with door keys in the dark with an armful of grocery bags can be a challenge, but for those with a disability, unlocking the door can be almost impossible. So, a smart door lock is a great help to those trying to maintain independent living. This Smart Lock Pro from August will not only let you lock and unlock the door using voice commands, but it will also function automatically when you leave or approach the house by recognizing your smart device. It works remotely, so you can grant keyless access (perhaps for a delivery or a contractor), and track usage throughout the day.
And now you can also unlock your door using your fingerprint! Check out these great finger scan locks.
For those with limited mobility, getting up to answer the door can be a problem, and it’s especially frustrating if it turns out to be someone with whom you don’t want to interact. A smart doorbell with video will let you see who’s standing on your doorstep and, in some cases, even speak with them directly. The ZhiLiao Smart Home WiFi Video Doorbell has a wide-angle night vision camera to give you a clear view, two-way audio that works via your smartphone (so you can answer the door remotely), and a motion detector that alerts you to a caller before they’ve even rung the bell.
There are a few things to consider before installing a smart doorbell though, so read our guide to making that decision before taking the plunge.
Smart Wheelchair Sensor Pads
When you’re living independently, it’s important to be able to get help quickly if you have a fall, and that’s especially important if you use a wheelchair. So this smart cordless wheelchair sensor pad will give you and your family peace of mind. The cordless design eliminates trip hazards—very important when you’re getting into our out of a wheelchair—and the pad triggers an alert to call the monitor if it detects a fall. Follow our detailed guide to how to build a wheelchair ramp to make your home accessible to wheelchairs.
Many simple household tasks present a real challenge for disabled people, which jeopardizes their independent living. Automating things like lighting can be a big improvement. Ikea now has its own Tradfri connected lighting system that’s more affordable than some other options. A starter kit includes sensors and dimmers, and you can set timers using presets, and adjust the color temperature using the Tradfri app. You can even control individual lights.
The Tradfri system also connects to other smart Ikea devices, with plans to introduce smart window blinds in the USA in April 2019.
Smart Garage Door Opener
Cars are commonly adapted for disabled drivers and provide an important way for them to retain their independence. But opening and closing a garage door can present a challenge to independent living. Chamberlain offers a range of smart garage door openers that not only automate the whole process of opening and closing the door but also allow to do this remotely using a smart device. You can set recurring schedules to open the doors and to control the integral lights, check the status of the door if you forget if you’ve opened or closed it, and get alerts when the door is opened. And here’s how to retrofit your garage doors to open with a wi-fi system.
Smart Window Blinds
Reaching up to handle window blind cords will become a thing of the past when you have smart blinds. Once installed, smart window blinds can be controlled with a remote control handset or from a smartphone app. Purpose-designed smart blinds can be expensive, but a more affordable option is to fit a smart automation kit to existing window blinds. Then, you can control your blinds to a schedule or on-demand. The system is also solar-powered to save on energy bills, and uses its own app or can be converted (via a smart bridge) to work with Alexa or Google Assistant.
Not sure how to install window blinds? Then follow our step-by-step instructions for a perfect result.
Smart Vanity Mirror
When getting ready for the day, a properly positioned well-lit mirror is a must. This cordless mirror from Simple Human takes the hassle out of using the mirror. The surgical-grade LED lights switch on as you approach and off when you move away, while a motion sensor keeps them on for as long as you need. The lighting mimics natural sunlight, so you’ll know exactly how your face will look when you go outdoors. With 5X magnification, you’ll see everything clearly but can see the whole of your face as well. And, the rechargeable battery lasts for five weeks between charges. Here are 10 awesome beauty vanity ideas to give you inspiration.
Smart Plant Watering
If you’re a gardener with a disability, then keeping your precious plants watered could be difficult, without help. But a smart watering system such as one from Rainmachine will make the process much easier and leave you to enjoy your plants. Rainmachine’s system allows you to allocate different zones in your garden so you can direct water where it’s most needed. It’s weather-aware, adjusting the watering schedule depending on the current weather (e.g. more water during a heatwave), and also tracks the local weather forecast too. It’s compatible with most common operating systems like Alexa and Google Assistant, but also has its own operating system. And it can even be programmed through If That Then This, for example, to trigger a watering session if a certain temperature is reached.
You can cut down on the need for watering by using clever landscaping. Here are 10 of the best ideas to make your garden more drought-tolerant.
Anything that can make doing laundry easier is most welcome. And, for those with a disability, it’s even more important to simplify the task. This smart combination washer/dryer from LG can be controlled via a home hub or the SmartThinQ app, allowing you to select the cycle, start or stop the machine and receive an alert you when the cycle is finished. This combo device means there’s no swapping of wet clothes from one machine to another, an important consideration if you have limited mobility, and the app functions as a diagnostic device, alerting LG if the machine develops a problem. And, here are 13 great laundry tips you’ll be glad you know.
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