2006 Conference General Sessions




Chet Cooper
ABILITY Awareness
1001 W. 17th Street
Costa Mesa CA 92627
Day Phone: 949) 854-8700 ext 312
Fax: (949) 548-5966
Email: chetc@abilitymagazine.com

Presenter #2
Romney Snyder
ABILITY Awareness
1001 W. 17th Street
Costa Mesa CA 92627
Day Phone: (949) 854-8700 ext 307
Fax: (949) 548-5966
Email: romney@abilitymagazine.com

Exploring the technology that went into creating ABILITYís first Smart Home. Panelists include the program founder, technology experts and the homeowner who has quadriplegia.

Complete Paper: When Derrick Daniels was seventeen, his friends were playing with a gun they didnít know was loaded. The gun accidentally went off and the bullet hit Daniels, paralyzing him from the neck-down. He then spent 10 years following the incident living at his motherís house, facing the frustration that comes with living in an inaccessible home. As Danielsí search for a new home progressed, it quickly became evident that nearly every home would require extensive modification to be wheelchair accessible. He then learned about the ABILITY House program.

The ABILITY House program is a nonprofit enterprise working to construct accessible homes for low-income families where one or more members have disabilities, while at the same time engaging people with disabilities from the community as volunteers to help build the homes. Every ABILITY House employs universal design elements and meets the criteria of visitability (i.e., people with disabilities who donít live in the home can still visit it with ease). The basic visibility features include a minimum of one no-step entrance, hallways at least 36Ē wide, and one bathroom on the first floor with a 32Ē doorway. In addition, each ABILITY House incorporates various accessibility features to accommodate the specific needs of the homeowner.

Our presentation describes the technology implementation that took Danielsí ABILITY House from a home to a smart home. The ABILITY House Smart Home was built in partnership with ABILITY Awareness, ABILITY Magazine and Habitat for Humanity of Greater Birmingham, Alabama. Hewlett-Packard, the homeís technology sponsor, donated and installed a HP Pavilion Media Center; smart-home environmental controls programmed to control the lights, doors, TV, radio and other appliances in the home; head tracking device; onscreen keyboard; and a professional voice-activated dictation package. The home also featured extensive voice-activated phone services donated by BellSouth, a corporate sponsor of the home, a ceiling lift provided by SureHands Lift and Care Systems to transport him from his bed to the shower and an automatic residential door donated by Stanley.

The presentation will include discussions with the programs founder; the technology experts who installed the software and a conference call to Smart Home owner Derrick Daniels. The technology experts will explain the technology they installed, the trials they encountered and how they corrected potential issues to get software from multiple vendors communicating effectively. Daniels will explain how the technology allows him to perform tasks he couldnít previously do on his own. Attendees will be able to ask questions of him in real time about the technology, the ease of use and how it benefits him on a daily basis.

Danielsí home, as with every ABILITY House, was built primarily by volunteers, about half of whom themselves had disabilities ranging from paraplegia to blindness and mental illness to developmental and intellectual disabilities. Hewlett-Packard continues to support the ABILITY House program through sponsorship of its College Students with Disabilities Initiative. The initiative works to connect disabled student services centers with their local Habitat for Humanity affiliate to engage students with disabilities in planning and building ABILITY Houses.

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