Using your voice to control the world around you is becoming more and more prevalent every day. Who hasn’t heard of Dragon Naturally Speaking to control the computer and then there is always Siri on Apple devices to send emails, setup reminders or check the weather. There are also assistive technology devices that allow you to control your TV, DVD, radio, or even lights and fans, all with just your voice.
Pedaling for Possibilities (P4P) is in full swing throughout the year providing assistive technology devices and services to those in need. This past week, I was in Strasburg, ND, visiting Val, a recent P4P grant recipient to set up her new voice activated remote control, the Voice IR. Val initially submitted an application to P4P because she was frustrated with having to call care staff every time she wanted the TV turned on, a channel changed, or a fan turned on for comfort. Val is dependent on staff for these activities because of Multiple Sclerosis and also stated she was worried about becoming a burden. The Voice IR is able to do all of the things Valerie wants in her bedroom environment by training the device to her voice and repeating those commands to be performed. Initial feedback from Valerie has been positive as she is using the device and showing all the things she can do to her care staff.