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Your location: Home > Related Articles > Enhanced smart home technology for visually impaired individuals in the Internet of Things

Enhanced smart home technology for visually impaired individuals in the Internet of Things

Author:QINSUN Released in:2024-01 Click:23

In many cases, smart home technology can provide visually impaired homeowners with more convenience and higher security than non visually impaired homeowners. Smart home integrators need to understand the unique needs of visually impaired homeowners who must provide them with appropriate services.

Professional smart home integrators are very good at understanding the needs of ordinary people when developing smart home systems for them. However, few people need to understand how these requirements differ for visually impaired individuals.

It is important to understand that blindness, which means complete or almost complete loss of vision, is just one type of visual impairment. Wikipedia describes visual impairment as "the degree to which vision declines to the point where the problem cannot be solved through conventional means such as glasses."

For many years, professionally installed smart home systems have relied on touch panels, tablets, and smartphones as the main control points for smart homes. Unfortunately, for visually impaired individuals, these may be difficult or impossible to operate. On the contrary, voice control provides a simple method for visually impaired individuals to control smart homes.

Voice assistants can be integrated into smart homes:

• Turn on/off lights

• Control the heating and cooling system in the home

• Open/close sunshade

Lock/unlock car doors

TV control (even completely blind people will use TV to play audio content)

• Control robot vacuum cleaners, mops, and lawn mowers

Notify homeowners of incidents that occur at home

• And more

All of these make voice assistants the best choice for visually impaired individuals to control smart homes. In addition, visually impaired individuals can use voice assistants in many other ways.

• Manage their calendar and schedule

• Shopping list

Cooking timer

• Order household essentials and groceries

Order restaurant delivery

Playing music

Play audiobooks and podcasts

• Object recognition - On Amazon Echo Show, an object can be placed in front of the camera, and the voice command "Alexa, what am I getting?" will provide the user with a description of the object.

• Telephone and text messages

Smart home lighting

Lighting control may be crucial in homes where visually impaired individuals reside. Similarly, it is important to remember that visual impairment encompasses a wide range of visual impairments. One person may be able to read highly enlarged text, another person may only be able to distinguish whether it is bright or dark, and another person may not have vision at all. Others may even be very sensitive to strong light.

Lighting should be controlled through voice commands and possible motion sensors, eliminating the need for wall mounted light switches. Motion sensors are particularly useful for triggering lighting scenes, such as in corridors where there is no other reason to place voice assistants.

Stairs are particularly dangerous for visually impaired individuals as they have difficulty seeing the starting, ending, and steepness of the stairs. Proximity sensors can be placed at the top and bottom of stairs to emit audible warnings when people approach them. For customers with a certain level of vision, step lights can also help them safely ascend and descend stairs.

Sound notifications for smart homes

Smoke alarms, anti-theft alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, etc. are as important in the homes of visually impaired individuals as in any other home. But it is important to recognize that visually impaired individuals may have a harder time investigating the source of emergency situations than others.

Modern sensors containing voice messages can provide missing information. For example, building codes require the placement of smoke detectors in each bedroom and other rooms around the house. It is difficult to determine which detector is generating an alarm. Smoke detectors containing voice messages can report rooms that have detected smoke.

Amazon provides the ability to integrate compatible sensors into Alexa routine triggers. Therefore, compatible sensors can be integrated into Alexa programs, which can broadcast any notifications on Alexa speakers. For example, a leak detector located behind the toilet can trigger an audible notification of a leak in the master bathroom toilet.

Some smart home hubs integrated with Alexa, such as Hubitat, can even integrate virtual sensors that can be used to trigger various sound information.

security

Due to limited or no vision, visually impaired homeowners are at a higher risk of intruders, fires, and other emergencies at home. Many modern security systems can be integrated with voice assistants, making deployment, disarming, and checking system status easier. An example is the integration between Alexa and SimpliSafe. SimpliSafe Alexa skills include:

Alexa, have SimpliSafe set my system to home mode

Alexa, have SimpliSafe set my system to leave mode

Alexa, tell SimpliSafe to lock

Alexa, tell SimpliSafe I'm going to bed now

Alexa, tell SimpliSafe that I'm going out

Alexa, ask SimpliSafe if my house is safe

Alexa, inquire about my current status with SimpliSafe

The smart doorbell also provides additional protection for visually impaired homeowners. For example, Nest Hello with facial recognition function can be trained to recognize regulars. When someone visits, the system can be set to announce events on Google/Nest smart speakers, including identifying familiar people or delivering packages.

Routine schedule

Voice control may become cumbersome. For example, before going to bed, the homeowner may issue the following command:

Lock the front door

Deploy an alarm system in home mode

Set the thermostat to 67 degrees

Turn off the kitchen lights

Turn off the lights in the living room

Turn off the bedroom lights

Combine all these steps into a routine that can be initiated through a single verbal command, making the operation of the smart home simpler; Especially for those who may not be able to visually verify whether they remember to issue every verbal command.

Smart Home Records

Providing user documentation for smart home systems is even more important for visually impaired customers. People who use touch screens or smartphone applications can explore the functions they want through the menu. Remember that every voice command created by integrators to control smart homes is much more difficult. When voice commands are the main user interface of smart homes, documentation of various commands is essential.

However, providing documents for visually impaired individuals also poses challenges. In order to provide useful documentation for visually impaired homeowners, smart home integrators need to understand the capabilities of their customers. For some people, printing documents in large font may be sufficient; Others may request to print documents in Braille.

When Amazon Alexa devices are used as voice assistants, there is an alternative method to printing documents. Amazon Blueprints can be used to create audio documents for Alexa commands that can be used to control smart homes. Custom Q&A blueprints can be used so that customers can ask the following questions:

What commands are available to control lighting?

How to control the TV?

How to adjust the temperature controller?

The final idea

For smart home integrators, discussing the details of their medical conditions with visually impaired individuals may be uncomfortable. However, only through honest and open discussions can smart home systems truly meet the needs of customers.

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