Can a Smart Home Device Replace a Custom Environmental Control Unit?

Assistive technology for quadriplegics and individuals with debilitating diseases have come a long way and can help people communicate and perform tasks that were once impossible years ago.  Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) has been developing environmental control units/ECU devices and communication devices for quadriplegics and individuals with debilitating diseases for nearly three decades.  A lot has changed over the years, including the emergence of smart home devices that allow most people the ability to control certain aspects of their home via voice prompts or a smartphone app.  While these devices are fun to use and have transformed the way we perform many tasks, they have significant limitations for individuals with disabilities.

Assistive technology for quadriplegics and individuals with progressive diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is much different and more advanced than simple smart home devices. Let’s take a look at some advantages a custom environmental control unit/speech generating device such as the autonoME has over smart home devices:

Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC)

The autonoME, for instance, is a custom environmental control unit with integrated alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) features.  Smart home devices are not equipped with full AAC features.

Input Methods

The autonoME is considered one of the premier ECU devices / communication devices for quadriplegics and individuals with progressive diseases because of its ability to accommodate different input methods including voice, touch, sip and puff, eye gaze and head tracking. Smart home devices operate using either voice or touch.

Voice Assistive Technology

Communication devices for quadriplegics and individuals with debilitating diseases often incorporate voice assistive technology for communication.  The autonoME, for example, even allows individuals with progressive diseases to bank their own voices and expressions for use after they lose the ability to speak.

Computer Access

The autonoME – equipped with Windows 10 – is an example of assistive technology for quadriplegics and individuals with progressive diseases that allows for full computer access. Smart home devices are not full computing systems.

While smart home devices have their advantages and are fun to use, they are not a sufficient substitute for a custom environmental control unit or speech generating device.  If you would like to learn more about how the autonoME can transform your life, give us a call today.