If you read and watched the videos on my previous post (ECU, Environmental Control Unit Demonstration) you have a basic idea of what the term Environmental Control Unit means, at least as far as the technology sold to the disability community. As presented, ECUs appear to provide a vital service but at what cost? Is there an alternative approach that could provide greater functionality at less cost? Is there an alternative approach that is broadly supported, multi-sourced and readily expandable as new technology becomes available?
Obviously the answer is…yes! The Digital Home or Smart Home technology market place is rife with the technology and know-how to provide the same and far greater functionality…at a greatly reduced cost. The terminology used varies depending on context i.e. Home Automation technology, Digital Home technology, Smart Home and outside the US, Ambient Assisted Living, Digital Domestic Environments and the ultimate solution an Attentive Home. The focus or epicenter of research into the application of this technology to support aging in place and those with disabilities is ICOST, International Conference on Smart Homes and Health Telematics, http://www.icost2011.org/
Following my internship, where I learned firsthand the cost and technology limitations of the ECUs being sold to the disability community I set out on a journey to discover alternative technological solutions. That journey started with the research paper (attached below) and continues today as the focus of my professional career. As you will see in subsequent posts, I have presented at both local and international conferences on this subject.
The attached paper was my initial investigation into alternative solutions and it lays the groundwork for subsequent posts. Along this journey I also discovered the need for an Assessment Tool that addresses the unique aspects of designing ADL (Activities for Daily Living) and EADL (Electronic Aids for Daily Living) supports. To that end I have created such a tool. It is called “the Bridge” and it is a process-oriented assessment tool for home and workplace accommodations. It will be presented in subsequent posts.
I should add that the attached paper contains some of my own political and social views. Whether or not you agree with my politics is irrelevant. What does matter is that we as a nation are far behind other industrialize nations in providing safe, comfortable and affordable living environments for those choosing to age in place or living with disabilities…and that is a function of national priorities which affects us all.
Research paper -> Beyond the Electronic Aids