You can set up a motion sensor as a touchless switch where you have to get really close to it to trigger it. I’ve been trying before that I have one in a box pointing upwards and I can wave a hand over it and that works. I also have some which are at foot level on a little ledge pointing down so that I can roll up to it and my foot going under the ledge triggers the motion sensor. So there are a lot of options with placement that can make a motion sensor an intentional touchless switch rather than just a general zone detection device. :sunglasses:

But the buttons are good, too.

Also, a pricey but super easy solution for the door opener is to combine the Skylink two button Wall mount remote with one Prota Push microbot.



No wiring required and you retain all the safety features of the Skylink device. The microbots are literally just tiny button pushers. You need the Prota bridge to give you IFTTT integration which then also gives you echo integration. One bridge can support about 40 Microbots.

The starter kit is the bridge +3 Microbots. So you’d even have an extra one or two, maybe to use with the laptop in the bedroom.

These things solve problems that are almost impossible to solve any other way without total rewiring. They work great. It’s just that they’re expensive.

Anyway, if you want voice control of the automatic door, that’s the easiest way, although not the least expensive.

1 Like

The different placements might be a good option for the motion sensors. The microbots are also a good option though. I’ll have to research the different options on that when i get to it and just kind of play around to find out what would be the easiest for everyone.

Back to the computer situation though, if you don’t mind me picking your brain a bit about that. What do you use in terms of speach to text? Do you also use Dragon? You seem to be VERY profecient when it comes to writing out instructions with links attatched and everything. I’m just curious as to your setup. Although, i imagine you probably use your phone a lot for stuff like that which has better speach recognition.

I actually hardly ever use the phone, it’s just physically very difficult for me. I really prefer an iPad mini for anything where I have to look at the screen and I use my Apple Watch for making calls and sending texts. But I have the ability To roll my wrist enough to activate Siri on the watch. If you don’t have that ability then the watch doesn’t help. I’m now using Alexa messaging also with my family, and I like that.

As far as voice software, I did use Dragon for a couple of years. It worked fine as long as I have done a lot of training with it and I was wearing a headset. With the microphone right next to my mouth. But that meant I had to have somebody else put the headset on and off, and I hated that.

Like your friend, I have days when my voice is weaker than other times and sometimes it slurs, and all of that just doesn’t work well with Dragon.

The Amazon echo was the most amazing voice recognition tech I had ever used. Not just because of distance, but in its ability to understand. I really like it and use it for choice whenever possible.

But as far as just writing posts and stuff, I just use the built-in features on the iPad. It’s always worked quite well for me when I’m close to it and I don’t have to wear a headset.

I do have some ability to Tap the screen with a knuckle, although my hands shake and I can’t be super precise with it. So I use a combination of a bunch of different apple features: voiceover to read the text to me and navigate the screen, voice dictation, and the assistive technology to change complex gestures into single taps. I much prefer it to anything available on my Windows laptop now. It’s not perfect; in fact there’s quite a bit of random capitalization as you’ll note from my posts. I don’t bother to go back and fix all of that because it would be a lot of work. But basic voice recognition is quite good and, again, no headset needed! :sunglasses:

1 Like

I use something like this, although it’s not exactly this brand:


And of course I totally rely on what is called switch navigation. That’s how you use the touchscreen device without actually touching it. :wink:

This is a Wall Street journal article from October 2014.

" http://www.wsj.com/video/tecla-shield-reconnects-injured-to-mobile-devices/EC8FDFA1-6D4D-48C6-A808-3812C412C04E.html21 "

He’s pretty picky when it comes to things like that. He has to keep his chair streamlined. Lol
He has an iPhone that’s velcroed to the end of his arm rest just below the chair stick. He doesn’t have any problem using that and eveeything he csn do with that.
I’m more curious about an actual computer application for when he’s laying in bed at night or in the morning and wants to watch youtube or netflix or whatever he wants. Getting dragon to respond is sometimes impossible as you know. And even though you can tell it to “go to sleep” or “wake up”, if it’s “asleep” it will still wake up the computer in the middle of the night if it happens to hear a loud enough noise. (Which doesn’t have to be all that loud.) We could place the mic closer to him and I’m sure that woukd help greatly with recognition, but then it would be more sensitive to his slight snoring in the middle of the night. I wonder if the best way around this is to just put another harmony hub in his room to actually turn his tv off instead of just letting it go to sleep.

That tecla-shield does look pretty sweet though. I’ll dedinitely look into that more with him.

1 Like

The original Tecla is great. I don’t know much about the new one, the Tecla – E, but as I understand it the main thing is that you can set it up with attachments to multiple devices at once rather than just one. Which is nice, but for me, if I can make my tablet work that’s enough as far as that goes.

The Tecla E would be super useful for someone who can’t vocalize, because they need switch control for everything. But people who can vocalize can use Alexa for some things and the tablet for other things. We have one community member who can’t vocalize, but can use her toes to type and push buttons. She’s looking for Control devices which are almost the opposite of what I’m looking for. So everybody’s physicality is different. :sunglasses:

If he spends a lot of time on YouTube, a Google home plus a chromecast might be good for that particular room. Sometimes it just comes down to the details of each use case.

I almost forgot, but we were just talking about the wake on LAN function in another thread today. That would put the laptop into sleep mode, not just Dragon. You can create a virtual switch, turn the virtual switch on and off with Alexa, and have the virtual switch coming on have Webcore send a WOL function to the laptop. That way the snoring wouldn’t be an issue. I’m tired right now, but @anon36505037 might be able to look into that for you. ( his mother uses a wheelchair, so he’s pretty familiar with accessibility issues.) :sunglasses:

Here’s an example where someone is using SmartThings and Google Home to turn their computer on and off by voice via Core:

1 Like

I saw that earlier today too. One more thing to look into.


Question about this. When turning on his pc, you have to physically click the mic button for Dragon to turn the mic on. Is there a way around this so when it turned on, the mic would automatically turn on also? If not, that would make this useless for B.

It depends on the exact combination of operating system PC, dragon version, etc. which is why this is a really good question for an occupational therapist. :wink:

The short answer is there is always some way to launch the dictation program handsfree, but the method varies, and may require installing additional navigation software. The methods vary, but There will be a way to do it. :sunglasses:

BTW, One of the things each person just has to try for themselves is which if any physical buttons they can use. They might be able to press something with the heel of their hand, with an elbow, by leaning into it, with their chin, with their forehead, with a knee, with a foot. And of course anyone who has a service dog knows that the dog may prefer one kind of button to another.

Personally, my own dog really likes the Logitech pop buttons. these are soft rubber and they’re big, they’re about the size of a drinks coaster. They have an official integration with SmartThings and as of the second generation they also work with HomeKit. And they have an official integration with harmony hub, which is probably obvious. They do need their own little Wi-Fi bridge, which is plugged into the wall.

These are not cheap, but I am able to use them, and my dog is able to use them, which is not true of something like a minimote or even the iris smart button.

The pop buttons come in a bunch of different colors, and they can be left on a tabletop or attached to the wall.

They’re expensive, typically $40 for one button, but for me, they are very valuable. But it’s one of those things that you have to try for yourself to see whether they will work for your household.


Note also that the pop buttons are designed to have three functions: single tap, double tap, and long hold. However, in our case, neither the dog nor I can really execute those with Precision, so we program all three functions to do the same thing.

I guess my point in this post is that there are many many different types of switches and buttons available and if someone in the house has hand control issues you may want to try several different types to see what will work best for them

So i tried to install the zigbee module in the living room fan tonight. At first look i couldn’t find anywhere to put it. So i was just putting the fan back up as it was. After unwiring it and then wiring it back up, the fan stopped working. After looking at it and trying to figure it out for a while, i noticed a place to put the module. So i went ahead and wired it in and put everything back in place.
The fan clicks like it wants to come on, but just doesn’t. With a little help it will start going, but eventually stop again. That’s issue #1.
The second issue is that when i hit the fan button on the wall remote it goes to speed 3. When i set it to speed 2, it turns the lights off. Then back on when i go to speed 1. I played with changing the fan speeds with the chain to see if that helped with no resolve.
Anyone ever heard of any of those issues? I just ordered a new fan off amazon that will be here thurs hoping it will work better. And because i wanted a new fan in the living room anyway, so this was a good excuse.
Btw, the lights work just fine except for the unexpected power loss at fan speed 2.

Wiring is always a big complicated topic and will require screenshots and usually technical drawings. I suggest you start a new topic for that one under connected devices. Make sure you put the brand and model of the zigbee module in the thread topic and that way people who have it will be able to help you. :sunglasses:


I’ll do that if i continue to have problems with the new one.

1 Like

How do i know if i have blue or red and how to do i install both ?

Tell your Echo “Alexa, tell Harmony to turn down the volume.”

It should immediately tell you whether you have the red skill installed or whether you need to enable it.

For more information, contact Harmony support.


It’s been a while since I’ve updated this. Honestly, I forgot I started it until I stumbled across it. lol
So just to make it current…
I have successfully installed the fan modules in the two fans (living room and b’s bedroom) after replacing both fans. I still want to convert the 3 other fans we have in the house, (my room, office and dining room) but funds are short and those are not important to this project. So they are on the back burner.
I bought an echo connect, so that helps out A LOT with calls. We were able to get rid of his voice activated phone that was very frustrating to use most of the time. And now we don’t have to listen to a phone ring whenever telemarketers call or go back to his room to hang up on them (we only have one phone in the house), we can do that from anywhere in the house!
I still haven’t figured out the WOL thing or a separate harmony hub for his room for his computer/tv yet. But rereading this post reminded me of that, so I will look into that again.
The door issue hasn’t been resolved yet either, due to funds being allocated elsewhere lately and my lack of motivation with this project. But I’m back at it again and looking for more to add (as long as the value is there).
One more project I have in mind is automating windows shades. I’ve been looking into this for a few days and have found that MOVEZ may be the best option there. Still kind of pricey, but cheap compared to others. ($400 for 6 windows) and there’s no need to by new curtains/shades.
So with all that said, I will try to do a better job of keeping this updated from now on as I try to conquer these goals. The next step will probably be to introduce a way to turn B’s tv off/on, since that shouldn’t have much cost and the process would be simple.

1 Like