The purpose of this post is just to keep everything together for me. (Hints, tips, advice, etc.)
I am in the process of making life more independent for my roommate of 5 years (Brandon or “B” for short). So this will be directed more towards that than anything, although it’s not any different than “walkers” just trying to make their life more “awesome”. lol This project is soley funded by myself as funds are available, so keep that in mind with any suggestions you may have…
Here is a little but about B, if anyone has any suggestions for ease of use of things. Like I said, he is a quadriplegic (victim of a motorcycle accident 8 years ago). We have lived together going on 5 years now and have been friends since we were in little league together. He has some movement in his arms, mainly his left. And that’s about it. No finger manipulation but he uses his knuckles to operate his iPhone and can do most everything with that. (Although he doesn’t have access to that while he is in bed.) He has caretakers with him just about 24/7, including me most of the time when I’m not at work or out camping or something. But the idea behind all of this is to give him the ability to do as much as possible by himself without having to ask someone to do it for him. (Anyone who knows anyone in his position will understand the importance of his own independence) And the fact this stuff is awesome and it’s a fun project for me.
I started this project after thinking about getting an Echo Dot to play around with. Then after some research I found out that you can turn on/off entertainment devices. B could basically control all the entertainment devices through apps and wifi on his phone, but we always ran into issues because he wasn’t able to turn them on. Then I started looking at what else I could integrate into it. Voice automated garage door? Hell ya! So more research ensued and then I pulled the trigger and started my amazon shopping list.
I’m getting close to having the “essentials” put in place. That doesn’t include a lot, but enough to give him some freedom. Following is a list of things I have done so far…
1 - Harmony Hub set up with both of our entertainment centers (living room and garage). I have had this going for a few weeks now and I’m still having some issues tweaking all the bugs out. (A) We can’t access all the channels we want via Alexa (I’m pretty sure that’s just an issue of adding more activities to the harmony hub). (B) when we tell Alexa to turn on/off the living room tv it’ll turn the garage cable box off/on (along with some other buggy things like that). And © the miniblaster we ran into the garage sucks. It has to be in just he right spot to be able to send signal to the LG tv. So we have a wire running across the middle of the floor, which is very annoying to someone with OCD tendencies.(me) lol
2- Z-wave garage door opener. This was a fun project, it was my first introduction to “coding” and creating custom apps. We have two doors (so I’ll have to add another some day), but for now, this works. I still need to figure out how to add a code to this though if anyone can help with that.
3 - Installed the EchoSistant app. We haven’t really used this. I installed it while I was waiting for the updated version of Ask Alexa to be released.
4 - Ask Alexa app. This came out a lot sooner than expected, so I was excited about that! I haven’t been able use it to it’s potential yet though, as we only really have 2 things so far. But I can’t wait to integrate a lot more things into this.
5 - I just received 2 zigbee fan controllers yesterday (1 for B’s room and 1 for the living room) so that will be a project for this week some time! Hopefully I can get those installed with limited issues.
…this list will grow
Things to come…
The only other thing I NEED to add is an automatic door opener on the kitchen door leading to the garage. (after all, being able to open the garage is kind of pointless if B can’t get INTO the garage.) I’m going to use a SkyLink DM-150 and integrate some kind of zwave button/switch into the push button controller. I’m not sure EXACTLY how to do this, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out when I get to it. (Or one of you guys will tell me. lol)
Along with that, I will be adding a lot of other things also. Wall switches/dimmers, motion sensors, thermostat, etc. Eventually everything in our house will be voice automated, but that’s just for the cool factor.
B’s pc. He spends a lot of time sitting in his room on the computer watching youtube and what not. He uses the Dragon program along with a mouse on his phone to control the pc. When he’s in bed, Dragon is all he has though and we have a lot of issues with that. It’s not as responsive as we’d like. Sometimes, (like last night) it just doesn’t understand what is being said. “Mouse 1” is heard as “blue” or something crazy like that. I know one solution would be to get a better microphone since he is about 7 ft. away from his when in bed, but that would cause another issue. His pc goes to sleep after a while which also turns his monitor (TV) off. So he doesn’t want something that will pick up his snoring or any other slight sound and wake up the pc. which will, in turn, wake up his tv and shine a bright light in his face while he’s sleeping. So any solution to this would be great!
I will add more to this as time passes, issues get fixed and we integrate more things.
This community, in my short time here, has been awesome! The support you guys lend and the things you do is incredible. I’m glad to be part of this community and I’ll try to add something to it once I figure out how. lol Thank you all for your continued support!