Pushin' On: UAB Spinal Cord Injury Model System Digital Newsletter Volume 32 | Number 2 - Page 2

HEALTHY LIVING Making Your Dumb Home Smarter by Phil Klebine I am a tech junkie! I love gadgets and gizmos! So what does this have to do with Healthy Living? I use technology to make my life easier and improve my independence. That is healthy living! You have no doubt noticed the fast growing use of smartphones and tablets. These “smart” devices are portable and have enough computing power to run complex applications (apps). There is also a rise in companies that want to use apps to turn your smartphone or tablet into your own personal remote control for everything in your home. You can control things within your home over wifi, and you can control them from anywhere through your 3G or 4G network and over your wifi. So, how do you do it? I have done a lot of research to give you a few options to consider. These suggestions are based on what I think allows you to start small and continue to make your home smarter over time. This is important because the consumer-friendly home automation market is growing fast. There are a lot of options, and you cannot always mix and match things. If you try to mix and match things, you can end up using a different app for each device. I think it is easier to stick with one option that has shown the ability to add new products that fit seamlessly together and controlled with one app. And finally, I believe being independent means do it yourself if you have the physical ability or take charge of the project if you have a physical impairment. Now you decide based on your budget and how tech savvy you are. Just the Basics For those who prefer the simpler life, you might go with WeMo. WeMo offers a free App to control any plugin appliance. For example, plug the WeMo Insight Switch ($60) into your current electrical outlet, plug a lamp in, and control your lighting. Get the WeMo Switch + Motion ($80) and turn lights on or off as soon as movement is detected. Add as many switches as you want around your home and create customized schedules to control the different appliances as you wish. For example, set your coffee maker to wake up with you so that your coffee is hot and ready for the start of your day. Getting Your Geek On Sure, controlling lights and other plugin appliances is great, but you can do that and more with SmartThings. You start with the Hub ($100). The Hub is the brain that connects other SmartThings together. Like with WeMO, you can control lights and other appliances plugged into the SmartPower Outlet ($55), and the SmartSense Motion Sensor ($50) will turn those appliances on or off when movement is detected. If you do not like the look of the SmartPower Outlet sticking out from the wall plug, the GE In-Wall Outlet ($50) can replace your current electrical outlet and provide the same control over plugin appliances. You can add a GE In-Wall Lighting Control ($50) to remotely turn on and off your hard-wired appliances like overhead lights and ceiling fans. Deadbolt locks by Kwikset ($215) and Schlage ($215) allow you to lock and unlock your door from wherever you are. The SmartSense Presence Sensor ($30) is a key fob-type sensor that people or pets wear to keep track of them and trigger other SmartThings to perform different Participate in Research Pregnancy, Labor, Delivery and Postpartum Outcomes of women with and without a SCI This is a study io document care received and pre- and post-birth outcomes in women with spinal cord injury. Eligible women with SCI should: • be 19 years old or older • in the first trimester of pregnancy • be one year or more post-injury • live near Birmingham, AL, Louisville, KY, Downey, CA or Houston, TX Participants will receive payment. Go to website, call 205-934-3330 or email SCIresearch@uab.edu for more information. 2 uab.edu/sci actions (e.g., lights to turn on or off, a door to lock or unlock) as people or pets come and go. You also have the option to add the Aeon Labs Z-Wave Minimote ($60) as an additional remote control for all of your devices. Nerd Lives Here HomeSeer can turn your home into the Stephen Hawking of smart homes if you have some mad tech skills. You start by choosing a software option ($250 for the basic and up to $600 for the most advanced versions) and one of four Hubs (ranging from about $200 to $3,000). Since few people have the cash and DIY skills that I think you need for HomeSeer, I am not going into detail on how everything works. However, HomeSeer can control almost every connected device available. Plus, you can set everything up to be controlled by voice. Around The Corner I am keeping an eye on two systems that I think look promising. Home improvement giant, Lowe’s, is putting its considerable weight behind Iris. The basic version of Iris is free, but the free version does not really offer many features. You have to pay a monthly fee ($10) to get the cool stuff. However, Lowe’s has the muscle to partner with manufacturers to connect everything in your home from lights to washing machines. Homey was launched from a Is Homey the future of home automation? successful Kickstarter campaign and is scheduled to be available in early 2015. If it works as advertised, you will be able to ta