The iPad works great for a lot of different things, but this might be the coolest thing I’ve ever read about it. Dale Pollak of Hinsdale, Ill. is blind and uses an iPad to operate lights, thermostats, and electronics in his home. From our sister publication Electronic House:
Instead looking at a menu of commands, he tracks his finger across the screen of the iPad and the device speaks to him. For example, if Dale’s finger brushes past a button that controls the kitchen lights, the iPad might say, “island lights, on, 50 percent.” From there, Dale can slide his finger up and down to alter the intensity level.
Control over a whole-house music system works the same way. The iPad might say, “library audio, FM Tuner, the lite 93.1, volume 39 percent” or “patio, music player, Pandora, Dave Matthews Radio” when Dale’s finger touches the music button. Then, Dale can move his finger to hear and find a new Pandora station, for example.
The technology is enabled by a special accessibility mode on the iPad. The custom electronics (CE) pros at MediaTech, St. Charles, Ill, designed an on-screen menu for the iPad that could leverage the technology for the purpose of controlling devices inside Dale’s home. The buttons, sliders and icons were laid out in a way that would allow a blind person to easily navigate his control options. Based on Dale’s finger swipes and presses, an AMX home control system carries out his commands. “Dale has gone from trying to navigate switches and buttons on the wall of his home by feel to having more control over everything than even the sighted members of his family have,” says Paul Faber, co-owner of MediaTech.
We also shared with you the story of Kyle Hoff, a quadriplegic who uses the iPad to assist him in his home. Have you guys heard of any other applications like this?