Disability Access w/ Amazon Echo Dot, SmartThings, Logitech Harmony Hub & Smart Home Automation

Use smart home automation to help people with disabilities. In this episode, we help Bob, a quadriplegic, simplify his life with the use of smart home tech. Being disabled shouldn’t mean that accessibility is sacrificed, not in today’s day and age. Today we discuss how a simple solution using the Samsung SmartThings hub 2.0, GE In-Wall Smart Switches, the Logitech Harmony Hub and an Amazon Echo Dot can be a low cost setup to improve accessibility for those in wheelchairs or assisted living situations.

This setup will be used to control one light, one ceiling fan and a television using voice commands through the new Echo Dot. The solution is designed to primarily to be used through Alexa, however, we discuss in the video design elements that allow for backup control using a laptop, and, how to ensure that if all modern tech fails people can still have familier manual control. Even though this is a small home automation setup, it can easily be expanded. It is also compatible with the Google Home, which could be substituted for the Echo.

Solution Description:

The lights and fan are controlled with the GE switches. These are connected to the smartthings hub. SmartThings was chosen because there is a PC based utility called SmartTiles that will provide Bob with the Laptop control in the event that the Echo is offline.

To connect SmartThings to the Echo, we use the SmartThings skill. This being complete, Bob has voice control over his fan and lighting. As a backup, he can use his laptop for control. And finally, the selected GE switches provide a familiar manual control just in case the entire smart home is offline.

Next, we use the Logitech Harmony Hub to control the television. This is connected to the Echo Dot 2 through two skills. One of which allows for favorite channels to be defined and controlled through the Echo.

We did not use the Wink Hub 2 in this video due to the lack of simple PC accessible interface.