Assistive Technology

Automatic Door Openers
Adaptive Telephones
Environmental Control Units

Assistive Technology is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities. Assistive Technology promotes greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks that they were previously unable to accompish.

There are too many options in assistive and adaptive technology to show here.
Technology is continually developing. It is best to contact us so that we can
help find the best solution for you. We evaluate your needs in your environment, recommend the best solution, and perform the installation
.

Automatic Door Openers

An automatic door opener gives complete independence to an individual while
entering and exiting a doorway. A professional-grade access system unlatches
a locked door, opens it, pauses and closes it - all automatically. A remote
controlled door opener can be operated with a variety of wheelchair-mounted
controls, wall push pads and other specialty controls, which can be customized
to accommodate almost any physical disability.

Adaptive Telephones

Do you find it difficult to use your phone because of vision, mobility, or hearing
difficulties? There are several types of adaptive phones available.

There are phones with enlarged buttons for people who have trouble seeing the numbers. There are models with increased volume for the hearing impaired. Also available for people who are extremely hearing impaired are captioned telephones. A CapTelephone works just like any other telephone except that it also displays, in text, the words that are spoken. There are infrared phones that interface with environmental control units and there are switch-activated phones that have switches to activate the pick-up, dial and hang-up functions.

Environmental Control Units

Environmental control units (ECUs) are devices that allow people with mobility
impairments to do such things as tilt a bed, turn on and off lights and fans, open and close doors, work a TV, stereo, telephone and computer. These controls can be activated by joysticks, tap buttons, or switches. Some are voice-activated.There are many commercially available ECU devices, however they typically fall into two broad categories, stand-alone and computer-based devices.

There are currently four basic types of ECUs available:

• AC Power. This type of system uses the electrical wiring already in your home. Each item to be controlled (lamp, radio, etc.) is plugged into a control box, which in turn is plugged into an electrical outlet. The user has an input device that communicates with each control box via the existing wiring system. A different control box is needed for each appliance. These systems are inexpensive and easy to install.

• Infrared. These ECU devices send an infrared signal to the control unit, which in turn sends another infrared signal to the appliance. This type of ECU is seen in most of our TV and VCR remote controls. In order for the device to work, the remote must be aimed directly at the control box with nothing blocking its path.

• Radio Control. With this type of device, the remote sends radio waves to the
control unit, which then sends the message to the appliance. This is the same
technology that powers garage door openers. The remote and the control box can be in different rooms and still work, but the system has a range limit of 50-200 feet. Interference from another nearby control unit is also possible.

• Ultrasound. This type of ECU uses high frequency sound waves as the input
and output signal. The sound wave will bounce around the room until it reaches the control box and delivers its message. The control box then sends a command signal to the appliance being controlled. The input device and the control box must be in the same room to work.

No matter which type of ECU you select, be sure to have a backup system in place in case of power failure.

Resources

DATI (Delaware's Initiative on Assistive Technology)

PATI (Pennsylvania's Initiative on Assistive Technology)