With the Internet of Things (IoT) growing to become a big topic in our lives, the list of smart devices available is expanding daily and are helping people with physical disabilities gain back the independence to control their environment. Having a smart home has many benefits, especially giving people with disabilities and their caregivers peace of mind and comfort.
The small things many people take for granted, like being able to turn on the lights when you enter a room or turn down the heat when it gets too hot in your bedroom, are inaccessible to people with severe upper body impairments. People with quadriplegia, ALS, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, or people who have had a stroke need technology to complete daily tasks without assistance. Tecla products combined with smart home devices provide just that.
The following is a list of our favourite smart home automation devices connected with IFTTT that are compatible with the new tecla-e.
Coming in at the top of our list, the Harmony Hub allows you to control pretty much every smart device you can imagine. It costs $129.99 CAD and is compatible with over 270,000 devices including tecla-e! It works by turning your smartphone or tablet into a universal remote, providing wireless control of your home entertainment and smart home devices whether you are at home or not.
The Harmony Hub acts as a “middleman” to connect various smart devices within a smart home automation network. This is made possible due to their smart sensors which facilitate the communication between them. Compatible devices that work with smart home networks include thermostats, light bulbs, wall outlets and switches, door locks, energy monitors, blinds, appliances, wireless cameras, and so much more.
Notable Harmony Hub features:
- One-touch action: control one of 50 channel favourites on the app in a single touch or assistive switch command.
- Closed-cabinet control: control your devices behind closed cabinets and doors with IR, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless.
- Custom activities: create unlimited one-touch or time-triggered activities that group devices into custom experiences.
- Universal control: combine up to 8 remotes and countless apps into one easy-to-use smartphone app.
- Out of home remote: Set recordings, turn on the lights, or activate any of your devices at any location.
- Easy set-up: Download the Harmony App. Auto-scan for devices, create custom “Activities” and “Favourites”, and you’re ready to go!
- Samsung SmartThings - $99.99 CAD
Samsung SmartThings is another smart home hub that communicates with all your smart devices to provide you with wireless control. Coming in at $99.99 CAD, it’s a slightly cheaper option than Logitech’s Harmony Hub and works by connecting all your smart devices. One feature that sets SmartThings apart from the competition, especially for tecla-e users, is its battery backup. If the power goes out, or you are unable to reset your Internet manually, you can continue controlling certain automations for up to 10 hours. If you’re on the market for a new Smart TV, Samsung's 2016 SUHD TVs have all built-in SmartThings integration!
Notable SmartThings features:
- Add as you go: gradually add as many smart devices as you want to create a fully automated smart home.
- Get alerts: customize notifications and alerts so you can monitor what matters to you.
- Trigger actions: set up different actions to automatically happen when you're asleep, awake, on vacation or at home so you don’t have to remember or to do it or ask someone to take care of it.
- Communicate: talk to your home and it will adapt to your routines or patterns.
Remote controls are one of the hardest tools for people with limited hand dexterity to adapt to, so both the Harmony Hub and SmartThings are great options to unlock entertainment devices like Bluetooth sound speakers and Smart TVs. Both hubs are affordable stepping stones in creating a fully smart home.
- Wemo Switch Smart Plug - $49.99 CAD
If you’re looking for something to control the appliances you already own, the Wemo Switch is right for you. While not considered a “hub,” the Wemo Switch Smart Plug comes in at the lowest price and provides the features of a smart hub in a simple Wi-Fi connected wall plug. Plug the Wemo Mini Smart Plug into an electrical outlet, then plug a device into the Smart Plug and voilà! You have complete wireless control of your device using the free Wemo app.
The amazing thing about the Wemo Switch Smart Plug is that it turns anything in your home that you normally plug into the wall into a smart device that can be controlled from your phone or tablet. For example, you may have a 2-year old fan that works perfectly fine but has to be controlled manually. Plug it into the Wemo Switch Smart Plug and now you have wireless control to turn it on and off or change the speed.
Similarly to both the Harmony Hub and SmartThings Hub, the Wemo Switch Smart Plug can be used to turn off the lights or turn down the heat while watching TV in your living room or vacationing in one of our favourite wheelchair accessible destinations.
- Philips Hue - $199.97 CAD starter kit includes: 3 Hue A19 White and Colour bulbs; bridge
Philips Hue can be purchased to go along with your smart home hub or to be used by itself for those looking only to control the lighting throughout their home. Philips Hue connected bulbs and bridge allow you to take full control of your lighting. This smart device is a mix of functionality and creativity, with the ability to turn on and off the lights through an app, utilize the built-in sensor or adjust the dimness and colour ambiance in a room to set the mood.
The app's homepage provides a list of rooms and displays the Hue lights in each one. The interface allows you to adjust the colour or brightness of every bulb within three taps of launching the program, making it especially easy for users controlling the lights hands-free with tecla-e.One key feature that makes Philips Hue accessible is its timer that automatically adapts your lights throughout the day. For example, you'll be able to set a "wake up" automation that modifies the colour temperature of the bulbs and slowly increases its brightness to mimic the rising sun and ease you out of slumber. No getting out of bed needed!
tecla-e not only revolutionizes the way people with limited upper-body mobility use technology - but also how people control their environment. Visit www.ifttt.com for a full list of IFTTT smart devices compatible with tecla-e.
Check out our medium page for more blog posts like this one!