Technology Project
TechSummit 2021
Remote Support
Smart Home Discovery Place LogoBecause of the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, a limited number of tours are available on a weekly basis. To schedule a tour of the Smart Home Discovery Place (SHDP), contact Jordan Wagner using the email address below:

Smart Home Discovery Place

A 1991 technology manual published by International Business Machines (IBM) included the following statement: “For people without disabilities, technology makes things easier. For people with disabilities, technology makes things possible.” Almost three decades later, nothing could be truer. With the use of technology, some activities that previously required the presence of another person providing supports or assurance can be accomplished independently by the person with disabilities; for the first time! The SHDP will demonstrate a variety of cutting- edge technologies (many off-the-shelf), connect people with resources, answer their questions, and guide them in navigating the process of bringing these technologies into their (future) home.

The goal of the SHDP is to increase the awareness and understanding of individuals with IDD, their family members as well as providers who support them about smart home technologies and other related resources that may be a viable solution for their everyday support needs and might help them to live with greater independence.

Read the full summary:

For more information contact:

Jordan B. Wagner
Coordinator, Technology Project
Tel: (614-688-3155)
The Smart Home Discovery Place is made possible with support from:
Administration for Community Living
The Columbus Foundation
Knights of Columbus Saint Brigid of Kildare
  Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Information Technologies' 1st Annual IT Charity Golf Outing: TeCharities Fundraiser

Total Homecare Solutions

Dose HealthGoogle

This project is supported, in part by grant #90-DDUC-0038 (PI: Marc J. Tassé, PhD), from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, a limited number of tours are available on a weekly basis. To schedule a tour of the Smart Home Discovery Place, contact Jordan Wagner using the email address below:

At no cost to you, tours of the Smart Home Discovery Place (SHDP) can be reserved in-person or remotely for an individual and their support team or for a group.

Tailored SHDP tours:

SHDP is intended to provide personalized insights into ways that technology options may support someone to do more on their own and need less help from others. Through survey responses we can help identify needs and challenges to which technology may be able to respond. In these tours, someone will learn about technology options that respond to their self-identified needs and will receive support to add technologies to their home.

We encourage extending tour invitations to members of the support team, such as a family members and Service and Support administrators!

Group SHDP tours:

Group tours of SHDP provide an introduction to SHDP and an overview of technology options. In this tour we demonstrate how technology might support people with developmental disabilities to cook, complete complicated tasks independently, and use of sensors in the home to provide accountability either from a family member or a service called remote support.

These tours will not be tailored to specific individuals. The best way to get the most out of a SHDP tour is to schedule a tailored tour. Tailored tours can be taken with members of one’s support team.

Remote SHDP tours:

Tours can be conducted remotely from anywhere using an internet connected device such as a laptop, tablet, or smart phone. We do this through the use of a telepresence robot. With the use of a keyboard or a touch screen device, the telepresence robot is controlled by tour participants.


Smart Homes
Often technology can assist someone to live with greater independence. However, without personally experiencing the technology, it can be hard to find the right equipment or imagine how these technologies could affect one’s life, .
Throughout Ohio, organizations have developed smart homes to help individuals with developmental disabilities and members of their support team experience and discuss the use of technology to enhance independence BEFORE it’s purchased or used in the home.
Smart Homes around Ohio:

Smart Home Discovery Place Technologies

An advisory council that included engineers, network specialists, remote support professionals, assistive technology consultants, and intellectual and developmental disabilities experts developed the Smart Home Discovery Place (SHDP) catalogue of technologies. The advisory council reconvenes annually to expand the catalogue. Each technology below is included in SHDP.

*Note: These items are not endorsed for purchase without first trying the device out for yourself. Technologies should be considered on an individual basis in order to meet each person’s specific needs.

Amazon Smart Oven 

The Amazon Smart oven is a multi-function cooking device. It can be used as a microwave, convection oven, food warmer, or air fryer. Two key features of the Amazon Smart Oven is its ability to use voice commands and scan barcodes to set cooking instructions on the microwave. This device can help someone to microwave food and prepare whole meals, including those who experience difficulty reading or understanding numbers.



Armor-X iPad case

The Armor-X iPad case is designed for use in outdoor wet mobile environments such as boats. By using this case, the iPad not only has extra protection against falls but can also be used in busy, dirty or wet environments such as the kitchen – even with wet or dirty fingers. This is helpful so that the iPad can be used for guided direction applications for completion of tasks including cooking and cleaning.




August Smart Lock

Sometimes, finding a key and using it to open a door can be difficult, especially for those who have trouble with precision tasks. Additionally, everyone has experienced forgetfulness with regard to locking and unlocking the door. August Smart Lock automates this activity by using one’s phone or other Bluetooth enabled device to determine whether the door should be locked or unlocked automatically. This is accomplished using the Bluetooth signal from a device, such as a cell phone, to identify when a resident is in proximity of the door. Therefore, when one leaves the home the door can lock automatically then unlock the door upon arrival. Additionally a user has the ability to manually lock/unlock a door from an internet connected device. Because of this function to remotely lock or unlock the door, access to lock/unlock the door manually can be shared with a trusted caregiver, who can also unlock the door from their phone if helpful. Alternatively, the lock can also function with the use of a backup key, just like any other lock with key-entry.


Desktop computer with touch screen monitor and accessible operating system

Computers offers many practical, social, and entertainment benefits to the user. However, computers have historically presented several barriers to use by individuals with developmental disabilities. Operations that require several steps can make it confusing for some with developmental disabilities to complete an activity with the computer. Other barriers include presenting too much unnecessary content on a screen and the use of a mousepad/trackpad. Through use of a touch screen monitor and a simplified operating system, computer use can be customized to meet one’s needs on an individual basis. AbleLink’s Smart Living Suite 3.0 for Windows configures the windows operating system with limited options. For example, if someone typically uses the computer to check email, connect on Facebook, and visit a specific website then the display can be customized to exclusively exhibit those options in a touch screen format.


DoseHealth Medication Dispenser

Without the need of having someone in the home to personally pass medication, DoseHealth electronic medication dispenser prompts an individual and administers the appropriate medication at the set time. The medication remains available for a set duration (e.g., one hour) then locks when the time has expired. A trusted caregiver is notified about whether or not the medication has been removed from the tray. DoesHealth provides a chart that helps to track and monitor medication adherence.


Emergency Lighting

Redundant systems promote the greatest opportunity for a safe environment. When one precaution fails another is available to ensure safety. During an electricity outage, one option is to include lights with a backup battery. Therefore, when the electricity goes out, emergency lighting can remain activated.





Emfit movement monitor

The Emfit movement monitor helps to identify rapid movements, like those that occur during a seizure. The activity detected from this sensor is collected and tracked on a cloud based application; access to which can be shared with a primary care doctor and/or trusted caregiver. At the moment the bed sensor recognizes rapid movement, someone close by can be notified so they can assist someone who may be having a seizure.


Empatica Embrace 2

For those who experience seizures, Embrace 2 can provide some piece of mind and data with regard to the frequency of seizures and duration of convulsions. The smart bracelet is FDA approved to identify when a tonic-clonic (previously known as grand mal) seizure occurs. Once a seizure is identified, an alert is automatically sent to specified contacts with the individual’s location using GPS, so they can help as needed.



Guided direction applications

People with developmental disabilities can have difficulty remembering and organizing large amounts of information. Guided direction applications help to break complicated actions into simple steps. For example, if the task is to load the dishwasher, a guided direction application can break this own into small steps such as: 1) unload silverware from dishwasher into drawer next to sink, 2) unload bowls from dishwasher into cabinet, 3) unload plates into cabinet, 4) rinse dishes in sink, 5) place cups in top dishwasher rack upside down, etc. These steps are customizable to meet the need of each individual.



At one point or another, we have all left the stove or oven on. For the majority of us, we are lucky that this did not turn into a fire. One option to protect against fire in these situations is to shut down the range entirely when it is unoccupied. The iGuardStove uses a motion sensor to determine whether someone is still using the range. The duration of time before the range shuts down is customizable for the needs of the individual and the situation – one can set a timer on the iGuardStove when cooking something that requires a longer period of time away from the oven. Additionally, the iGuardStove can monitor the usage of the stove or oven to inform a caregiver about the frequency of range usage.


iRobot Roomba i7 autonomous vacuum

Maintaining a clean environment is a task of importance. While a clean home can help a space feel more organized, spacious, warm, and comfortable it can also be important for the physical environment to prevent other issues from arising. Accumulations of crumbs and dirt can make it easier for mildew and mold to develop, play a role in a fall, and can also bring unwanted pests such as insects and rodents. Regular cleaning can prevent other expenditures from a fall or pest control. The Roomba automates this process. By creating a map of one’s home, this device can sweep and vacuum carpet or solid flooring while avoiding furniture. The specific Roomba included in the Smart Home Discovery Place charges itself and empties its contents into a stationary receptacle so it can continue to do its job, even if it has not been emptied. The receptacle also factors into a cleanly environment by providing an easy solution for waste removal.


Motion Sensor

Motion sensors can engage other technologies using motion as the on-button. This can be used to turn on lights during nighttime hours, notify someone if the bathroom has been occupied for an extended period of time, or monitor daily routines in a way that promotes privacy (e.g., whether or not someone has entered the kitchen could be an indicator of whether or not this person has eaten).



Nest Cam

Cameras, while not appropriate in all homes, can enhance independence for some. In the Smart Home Discovery Place, a camera is strategically installed in a location with a clear view of the home entrance and of those coming in and out of the home. When someone opens the door, alerts can be shared with a trusted caregiver about who is entering and exiting a home. The camera demonstrated in the smart home discovery place, the Google nest cam, uses Nest Aware, a subscription service that implements facial recognition to automatically identify trusted people the user has added to the home’s database.  


Nest Learning Thermostat

The Nest Learning Thermostat learns the routines of residents to then automatically set the temperature and/or humidity level in a way that feels comfortable to the individual while factoring in time of day and weather outside the home. The device is capable of many useful functions including, automatically using energy saving settings while away, notifying a trusted caregiver when the temperature is too high or too low, prevent freezing pipes by never dropping below certain temperatures when outside temperatures are freezing. The thermostat works with air conditioners, furnaces, and whole home humidifiers. In areas where the humidity is too low, the thermostat can use the air conditioner to lower the humidity levels within the home. In addition to these tasks, the thermostat connects to other technologies such as the Nest Protect. In this scenario, when smoke, fire, or carbon monoxide are detected by Nest Protect, the nest thermostat can  shut down the furnace and/or A/C which may be helping the fire to spread or causing carbon monoxide to circulate in the home.


Range with induction stovetop

The use of an induction stovetop is one way to reduce the risk of fire and burns. Using magnetic energy, an induction stovetop heats pots and pans directly, without the stovetop itself needing to heat. This means that non-magnetic material such as paper, plastic, or organic material (such as one’s hand) cannot burn or set aflame by the stovetop itself. Residual heat still exists, but this is temporary and minor when compared the open flame from a gas oven or electric glass/coils on an electric stovetop.

While this reduces the chances of setting fire by stovetop, Pots or pans can still be hot and one can still burn their mealse. Using the GE Profile Smart Convection range with induction in the Smart Home Discovery Place, we have connected the range to a Google Nest Protect smoke and CO detector. By setting these devices to communicate with one another the range shuts down at the moment smoke is detected by the smoke detector.


Remote Support

Remote support provides homemaker personal care from a remote location with the use of technology. The service is available to all Ohioans who use a developmental disabilities home and community based waiver. Waivers pay for the cost and maintenance of equipment as well as staff. Remote Support is an alternative to having the constant physical presence of staff in someone’s home. The service is customizable depending on the individual’s needs – there is not a universal example of what sensors are used in a home. Total Homecare Solutions (THS) donates their sensors, services, and personnel for demonstration of remote support in the Smart Home Discovery Place.


Ring video doorbell

Video doorbells are a security device to monitor the entrance to one’s living space. They can be used by residents or trusted caregivers, on-site or remotely, to determine whether the person at the door is someone for whom the door should be opened before even approaching the door.  The cloud video and alerts can be used by trusted caregivers, as a non-intrusive and privacy promoting way to monitor when someone arrives home or leaves and monitor who is gaining access to the home. In terms of additional security, the Ring video doorbell offers access to recorded video for extended periods if purchasing the annual subscription.




Samsung SmartThings hub

There are many different approaches to selecting and installing smart home technologies. Currently there are not any smart home standards agreed upon by prominent smart home technology developers such as Amazon, Apple, and Google, among others. In order to demonstrate all of these technologies and have them interact with one another a smart home hub, capable of interpreting multiple signals and technology, is demonstrated at the Smart Home Discovery Place. The Samsung SmartThings hub is capable of interpreting several signals, including Wi-Fi, ZigBee, Z-Wave, and Cloud to Cloud Protocols. The different sensors and technologies used in the Smart Home Discovery Place may use any of these signals and others as well.


Samsung SmartThings multipurpose sensor

The SmartThings multipurpose sensor can be used to sense multiple things. This device can monitor the temperature and humidity level in a specific location, the vibration of an object such as a laundry machine, or whether a door has been opened or closed. In the Smart Home Discovery Place, we use this sensor to monitor access to cleaning supplies. The triggering of this sensor can send notifications to a trusted caregiver to either monitor home cleanliness (i.e., have the cleaning supplies been accessed or has the washer/dryer been used) or use the alert as a prompt to call and offer help with any cleaning questions.




Sengled Element Plus

Connected lights can be used to help notify someone about a need, help direct them to a location, and illuminate their path. Smart lights operate independently of the lamp from which they receive their power. Lights can be turned on or off with the power of one’s voice or from a connected device. The lights in the smart home discovery place engage upon exiting the bed and when a motion sensor is activated during a “night time” scenario. The demonstration lights can also change color. With this feature, Smart Home Discovery Place lights are used to notify someone where to go during an emergency, when to leave for work, when a meal has finished baking, and when the room is too loud.


Serena Automatic shades

For those who lack mobility or have difficulty with precision tasks, opening and closing the blinds can be a difficult activity. Because of this, we have selected Serena automatic shades as shades that work with voice assistants to open or close blinds at the command of one’s voice. Automated shades can be programmed to open or close at times customized by an individual living at home. These times might be when leaving the home, when one goes to bed, or when one gets ready for the day to help wake someone with natural sunlight. When combined with other technologies, Nest learning thermostat for

example, automatic shades can be programmed to help conserve energy in the home by opening and closing during moments strategic to increase or decrease the temperature of the home without use of the furnace or air conditioning.                                                                       


Smarter Fridgecam

Using a Wi-Fi enabled camera within one’s refrigerator this device helps to track refrigerated foods, create a grocery list, and monitor expiration dates. The device automatically identifies foods in the refrigerator and creates a grocery list based on items regularly purchased. Some reviews have identified that the artificial intelligence does not work well when identifying foods. Containers need to be placed in the fridge with labels facing the camera which also blocks items in the back of the fridge from being identified. Regardless, items and expiration dates can be manually added to the smarter Fridgecam database then items will be added to a grocery list as they expire or as the AI identifies an item as running low. Using a cloud based system, the camera as well as any lists can be accessed from any location, allowing one to check the fridge remotely to identify missing items. In addition, the device also recommends recipes for in-stock items.


Television and Sonos beam sound bar

Controlling one’s in-home entertainment is important for the experience of independence. For some it can be difficult for various reasons to turn on the desired channel or play the right music. The smart home discovery place is equipped with a television and a Sound bar. With these technologies we demonstrate the power of voice to control entertainment. Sonos speakers are notorious for producing quality sound; in this case, they are also a practical way to show the benefits of multiple voice assistants. The Sonos Beam sound bar comes equipped with Amazon Alexa as well as Google voice assistant. Another reason the Sonos Beam was selected is because it prioritizes privacy by including a mute button on the device and a clear indicator of whether the device is listening or has been muted.


Uninterruptable Power Supply

An uninterruptable power supply (UPS) acts as a battery backup for any electronic device. During a power outage, use this device to power important devices. In the smart home discovery place, the UPS is used as a backup power supply for the internet modem and router. Even during a power outage, phones and important smart home devices can still access internet because the internet is broadcast with a power supply from the internet provider; not within the home.




Voice assistant

Voice assistants recognize voice commands. Voice commands include requests for information (e.g., suggestions on what to wear on a given day (jacket, shorts), movie times, store hours, etc.) or to perform a task (e.g., turn on the lights, set the thermostat, lock the doors, etc.). In the Smart Home Discovery Place, both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are demonstrated.


Water leak sensor

Often, leaks go unnoticed until significant water damage is done. By including sensors that detect water leaks in strategic locations, the risk of water damage is reduced. Notifications can be shared with a landlord or trusted caregiver.





Withings Bed Sensor

Falling is a serious risk for many. To reduce the risk of falls, Withings bed sensor is connected to lights in the home to illuminate one’s path. Even while one sleeps, technology can play a role in enhanced independence; Smart Home Discovery Place demonstrate the use of this sensor to notify a trusted caregiver whether one’s morning routine is on schedule or starting later than usual. Additionally, this sensor also monitors the quality of one’s sleep, providing feedback on the REM cycle, duration of one’s sleep, the time it takes to fall asleep, and frequency of interruptions. For some this information may be useful for their primary care doctor to monitor the effects of medication.



Progress Photos