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Voice Recognition and Switch Controlled Environmental Control Units for Quadriplegics and Physically Disabled

What is X-10?

X-10 is a networking system that allows the environmental control unit to send to talk to other devices such as lights and appliances.  Since it uses the existing house electrical wiring it is very easy to set up and install.  No additional networking cables need to be run and the walls of the house don't have to be torn up.  Items that are going to be controlled on the X-10 network simply need to be plugged into existing electrical outlets.  In some cases special X-10 switches replace the standard electrical switches but the job is very minor.   Each device on the X-10 network is given a unique identifying address.  That ensures the environmental control unit send the signal to only one specific device.  Lights and small appliances are typically controlled using X-10.  Sometimes hospital beds, thermostats, and door openers are also controlled via X-10.  The possibilities are pretty broad. 

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What is IR or infrared?

IR or infrared is the same technology most remote controls that you are familiar with use.  It is a line of sight technology.  There needs to be an unobstructed path between the remote and the device to be controlled.  The IR signal cannot pass through walls or objects.  There are ways to send the IR into other rooms but a technical explanation is not going to be given, what's important is that you know it can be done.   The environmental control unit sends out an IR signal to talk to and control another device.  Entertainment systems such as TV, cable, satellite, and stereos are controlled with IR just as these are typically controlled with an IR remote.  A transmitter/receiver combination can be used to extend the range of IR signals.  Boosters can also be used to create a more powerful signal.  Some environmental control units are completely based on IR.  The environmental control unit sends out an IR signal to a IR module which then processes the signal and converts it to another signal type (X-10, RF, direct relay) as required.  Generally speaking IR signals should be used to control entertainment type devices.  Because of the line of sight requirement, the signal is not robust enough to be relied upon to control more critical devices.

What is RF or radiofrequency?

RF or radiofrequency is the same technology that is used in remote controls for garage door openers.  Unlike IR signals, RF signals can pass through walls and objects.  They also have a much longer range.  RF is used in most automated door openers.  There are even some entertainment devices that are moving toward RF control and away from the IR standard.  The problem with RF and the environmental control unit is that the industry doesn't yet have a way of programming an RF remote.  So when an environmental control unit interfaces with a door opener, the environmental control unit send a contact closure signal to the RF remote to open the door.  Just like actually pressing a button on the remote.  The environmental control unit does not actually generate and send out its own RF signal to communicate directly with the door.   



Some Environmental Control Providers

SAJE Technology LLC



Powerhouse Roommate Plus -voice recognition

Powerhouse Home -voice recognition

James -switch

Quartet Technology LLC


Simplicity Voice -voice recognition

Simplicity AIO -voice recognition, switch

Simplicity Switch -switch

Assistive Technologies Inc.


Independence One -voice recognition

Richardson Products Incorporated


Digital Home




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