Home automation and cerebral palsy

Today, home automation systems have reached a level of sophistication that would have seemed like science fiction not that many years ago. For those trapped by the paralytic effects of cerebral palsy, home automation, paired with eye-gaze technology, can offer a new degree of independence.

Cerebral palsy, or CP, is a condition that begins before, during and shortly after birth, when damage to specific parts of the brain can forever restrict muscular control. It can affect how those with CP walk, talk and use their hands. And it can make basic activities, like turning on the lights or adjusting the thermostat, a constant struggle.

But thanks to environmental control units (ECUs) and home automation devices paired with eye-gaze technology, those suffering from CP can control their surroundings and maintain a sense of autonomy and privacy. The ability to manage these daily tasks without relying on caregivers can be the difference between living independently and requiring in-home assistance.

Virtual assistants and smart devices

The reach of eye-gaze technology is stretched even further with home automation technology controlled by virtual assistants such as Amazon Echo and Google Home. An eye-gaze user gives an order with his eyes, and a computerized voice can direct the virtual assistant, which is voice-activated. The devices can tell other smart devices what to do via Wi-Fi.

Smart home devices can control a wide range of systems, from security alarms to smart LED light bulbs that can instantly change the color or intensity of lighting. There are smart security cameras, smart door locks, video doorbells, thermostats, electrical plugs and switches, and even robotic vacuum cleaners.

As the market for smart devices continues to grow, so do the opportunities for CP patients to control their environment without relying on caregivers -- and, as a result, live with much more freedom, independence, and privacy.

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