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For Disabled/Elderly

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Re: For Disabled/Elderly
« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2016, 03:19:01 pm »
you already posted about this in another thread.  Why post again? 


Re: For Disabled/Elderly
« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2016, 03:46:51 pm »
Because someone else suggested he do so. Anyway, there is additional info here.  (Relax, he is trying to resolve his issue.)

Also, if the Echo has trouble understanding his son say "Echo," maybe he ought to select either Alexa or Amazon for the wake word; whichever one has more success.  If device has trouble  understanding anyone else saying Echo as the wake word, this appears to be a defective device, and that is another issue.


Re: For Disabled/Elderly
« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2016, 04:21:45 pm »
you already posted about this in another thread.  Why post again?

It probably had something to do with the first sentence in Monkey Demon's post in the thread you're referencing:

"Have you tried reviewing the posts and maybe posting something on the "For Disabled/Elderly" topic over in the "Echo Development, Hacking, & Technical Discussion" category? There are probably others who share your concerns."

Also, if the Echo has trouble understanding his son say "Echo," maybe he ought to select either Alexa or Amazon for the wake word; whichever one has more success.

From the post you're both commenting on (emphasis mine):

"After my initial support call to Amazon about the Echo not recognizing my sons voice using all three trigger words we ran the Voice Training 5 times and moved the Echo to 3 different positions in the room."


Re: For Disabled/Elderly
« Reply #18 on: May 05, 2016, 04:23:11 pm »
Yup, well, if anything at least it will make others that have disabilities aware of the possibility of being understood by the Echo. Im going to have my son try to say Alekka tonight.


Re: For Disabled/Elderly
« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2016, 11:00:19 pm »
I use Alexa for my mom in law. It does as lot but not everything i wish. Would be better if it could do more like siri or Google, but the voice interface is much better with Alexa. I just wrote an app that can help if you are using it with a smart things hub as there is a cheap device that controls many rf and ir devices, that can link with this app. I also have a version coming soon that doesn't need the smart things hub but has other security things you'd have to work out.  Also, anything that can be programmed with web calls can be run with a raspberry pi or other web server, connected to Alexa via ifttt or smart things. Not sure if Skype can be activated by web calls or not but if so, that could be a solution. The issue I've found with these things is not being able to simplify control, which works well, but being able to troubleshoot when it doesn't work. As long as you can remote in to fix things, there are really a huge array of things you can do to assist an older or disabled person using Alexa and other technology. Here the info on the rf abd ir app i mentioned.


Re: For Disabled/Elderly
« Reply #20 on: July 14, 2016, 04:01:08 am »
In the BIOS settings of this computer, it can power on by pressing the space bar. I have not seen any other computer with such a setting. This was just a generic no-name computer. Now she can turn off the computer normally by shutting down in Windows and turn it on by pressing the space bar. Luckily the space bar is big enough and close enough to the edge of the desk so that she can do it by herself. She found this freedom liberating. These little things that most of us take for granted are extremely difficult for individuals with limited motion.

That's very nice of you.  There's a few ways to tackle the start-up and shutdown procedure that I've discovered over the years, being in a similar situation myself.  Most computer BIOS sections will have a "restore on A/C power loss", that can be set to power on. Then you need some sort of remote switch, I personally use Z-wave, so that's what I'll describe, but you may be able to use others. 

Now if I say, Alexa turn on computer, it sends a message to the Z-wave switch, via a bridge, that will flip the switch to on, and then the computer will load.

To turn it off, I use EventGhost, which is a fantastic tool for home automation.   If I say, Alexa turn off computer, it sends a message to the Z-wave hub, via a bridge, that will send an HTTP request to the PC, eg.  In EventGhost, the PowerOff event is received, and a Windows shutdown command is issued, so the computer shuts down properly, rather than just killing the power.

When the computer has shut down, the Z-wave hub monitoring the Watts used by the computer realises that it is drawing little or no power, and the Z-Wave hub then sends a power off signal to the switch, 'to flip it off at the wall', so to speak.  All ready for the cycle to begin again. 

Another option is to use Wake-On-LAN and sleep, rather than flipping the switch at the wall. In this instance, the Z-wave hub fires a WOL packet, and to put it to sleep, you use the sleep action in EventGhost, rather than the shutdown action.

To page someone in another room I use 'EchotoEventGhost', so "Alexa, tell my computer to page Nurse Ratchet", gives an event in EventGhost called 'page Nurse Ratchet', which I can then send a message to the Z-wave hub, which in turn sends a message to the mobile phone with an alarm, and text-to-speech message, saying 'Please come help me, nurse! '

Or I can send a message directly from EventGhost to the phone with the same Alexa trigger.

The same method could be used to flash the lights on and off, or for example, a radio plugged in turned on loudly, with a Z-Wave switch that is usually off.  EventGhost gets the trigger from Alexa, and turns the radio switch on.

As for TV control, I use a USB-UIRT which can plug into my Z-wave hub, or into a PC.  "Alexa turn on changer" goes from Alexa->Bridge->Vera->USB-UIRT->pay-TV box's infrared receiver gets a channel up signal.

If I want a specific channel, I can use Echo to EventGhost, and say, "Alexa, tell computer music channel"
Alexa->Bridge->EventGhost->Vera->USB-UIRT->pay-TV box's infrared receiver gets 3 signals, eg an 8 0 1

I use the same method for air-conditioning. "Alexa, turn on air-conditioning", sends an infrared signal of a predetermined heat/cold fan speed combo. I just use on and off, and vary the signal depending on whether it's winter or summer.  I could use EventGhost to pick specific temps just like the music channel example above.

More and more devices are becoming network capable, and both EventGhost and the Vera support pretty much all of them, so you can use the same commands, or triggers and instead of them sending an infrared signal, a network one is sent instead.

Using EventGhost, I can set my receivers input to the correct one automatically when it detects that I'm running Kodi, or when I switch to TV, and set volume levels accordingly, pick the display I want, (whether it's a TV, or computer monitor), power on devices, dim lights, etc.

It's a great tool for disabled people, and you're really only limited by your imagination at what you can have it do, eg.

"Alexa, turn on bedtime" could trigger the following things in EventGhost:
The TV comes on and gets set to HDMI-1, the HTPC gets a WOL packet, the receiver powers on and gets set to HDMI-4 and volume to 45, Kodi runs when the HTPC has resumed, a music playlist starts, the lights go off, a timer starts, and after an hour, everything goes off, and the HTPC goes back to sleep.

Hope that helps someone out there, or gives a few ideas. :)


Re: For Disabled/Elderly
« Reply #21 on: July 14, 2016, 09:14:41 pm »
As for making a Skype call, here's an example of calling the first person in my Skype list automatically, using EventGhost:
"Alexa, tell computer to call son" would be what would trigger it, although 'computer' can be any name you like.


Re: For Disabled/Elderly
« Reply #22 on: July 19, 2016, 09:16:12 pm »
I'm looking to find out if there's a way to program the Echo to send text strings over tcp/ip to a socket server. That would seem to be the magic bullet to fully integrate the Echo with my other devices. I would then be able to leverage on my existing gear and leave the echo for just the voice recognition function.

I currently run a script (using tcl/tk) on all my windows computers that listens on a socket for text commands that it can then run. Thus I can remotely execute pretty much anything that can be run directly on these computers. Tcl/tk has a windows library (twapi) that allows for simulated mouse movement and clicking to trigger any GUI program that might otherwise be difficult to script. Skype is the sort of external program that might be difficult to script, but could be driven using this technique.

By mailing the code I want to run, I don't need to modify the server program (and redeploy to many machines) to add a new capability - I simply send a text string that gets interpreted and run inside the server program itself.  Tcl/tk has both an exec command and an eval command (to run external programs or interpret and run commands inside itself). I use this to shutdown or suspend all my computers and use wake on lan to get them going again.

Over the last year tcl/tk was ported to android (androwish) and I have used this approach to combine my android touch devices with my desktop windows computers. tcl/tk is the glue that lets me do this.  I also have a roku and a tivo that I can also control over the lan using the built in http commands.

So, now I'm looking to expand my machine family with the Echo and voice.

BTW, I realize that some purists would complain about "mailing" code between computers, but I am the only user and it's sure a lot of fun. I do have a properly configured firewall, however.


Re: For Disabled/Elderly
« Reply #23 on: July 21, 2016, 12:22:53 am »
I'm looking to find out if there's a way to program the Echo to send text strings over tcp/ip to a socket server.

That's pretty much what I'm doing with EventGhost.  It has its own webserver, but you could use the payload and send it your server, if it's already set up and you don't want to re-do it again in EventGhost itself.


Re: For Disabled/Elderly
« Reply #24 on: October 21, 2016, 03:23:59 pm »
I have a relative with Alzheimer's.  I'm looking for a way to have a speaker in his apartment that can play custom recordings, reminding him to walk the dog, take his meds, etc. He won't speak to an Echo or similar. Because I live out of town, I'm hoping to find a way to create and schedule the recordings myself. Anyone know of an IFTTT type recipe or hardware solutions that could work?


Re: For Disabled/Elderly
« Reply #25 on: October 22, 2016, 05:27:39 am »
So this was really a wishlist and I broke it into two different functions because one is far simpler than the other.  My other goal of this post was to say, these are fundamental needs of hundreds of thousands to millions of Americans.  An enterprising maker could definitely make a business out of one or more items on this list.  The echo is more reliable and less clunky than a lot of the dedicated solutions believe it or not.

6. Page other room. 
Was intended to be some way for the echo to trigger a bell (and ideally flash a light) in another room.  If I had a bell that rang whenever the power was on this could be done now with a wemo switch.  Pretty simple but inelegant.  I have a reasonable solution to this now by calling my phone through ifttt with a pre-recorded message.  But last I saw you can only set up the phone call with ifttt to one phone.  Still, it would be nice to have multiple boxes around the house. 

7. Intercom to other room
I was talking about being able to open a voice channel to another room.  This would be something like an echo being able to fire up a two way baby monitor.  The tech exists, but it doesn't work together.  Or it could be as simple as one echo opening a voice channel to another echo.

As far as paging other rooms goes, more information is needed. How many rooms (zones), is 2-way communication required? Can it be as simple as a doorbell or an indicator light?

Paging/Intercom systems are not "cheap" and you may need to run wire. I'm thinking you can use some sort of IR controlled relay. Assuming you can get Alexa to control IR devices and have them programmed accordingly. And rig up some low voltage indicator light or doorbell.

You sound pretty tech savvy. You could use IFTTT to push a notification using a channel called pushbullet. This will go out to as many phones/computers as you want, you just add them to your pushbullet account.  Also if any of the devices are android, the pushbullet notification can be used to trigger a pretty limitless amount if automated scripts via an app called tasker, which could do something like trigger a video Skype chat from a mounted phone at her house, straight to your phone. Could also be used to flash a smart bulb in your house, or anywhere. Possibilities are emmense, but there is a lot to learn. A cheap android tablet mounted at the ladies house & some apps & learning would do it.


Re: For Disabled/Elderly
« Reply #26 on: December 07, 2016, 03:53:38 pm »
I am in the UK and my wife has severe MS. I have a bunch of projects to make her life easier, but am finding that the longer I wait, the easier it gets (for example 18 months ago I had a plan to put a screen on the wall with a Raspberry Pi running a google calendar, so she could see what was on the calendar and add things with her phone, rather than trying to write on the paper calendar we have now which she cannot do. All of this is now history with Alexa and the same google calendar though I'd still like to stick a tablet on the wall so she can get a visual of the next week or month)

Anyway - why this post? The original post in this thread had:
8. Answer door.  Possible with remote door lock and video doorbell?

My problem is that a video doorbell is fine if you can get to the internal handset/unit - what I need is some form of intercom at the front door and wherever she is in the house, if the doorbell rings, for her to be able to ask who is there and ask them to wait, as at present, by the time she gets to the door, the caller has often left assuming no one is in.

I am sure there are a million ways to solve this problem, and am also hoping the Echo can provide a voice interface as part of that. Any suggestions?


Re: For Disabled/Elderly
« Reply #27 on: December 07, 2016, 06:16:06 pm »
An Echo is not a solution, but rather a good old-fashioned intercom (or wireless one, so no hard wiring need be done).


Re: For Disabled/Elderly
« Reply #28 on: December 08, 2016, 04:31:26 am »
Mike, You say an Echo is not a solution but rather a good old fashioned intercom.  Are you saying I can use the Echo as a good old fashioned intercom?  Or did you mean that a better solution would be a good old fashioned intercom?  The problem with a standard intercom is that there are 2 ends - outside and inside, and when someone calls from the outside, the person inside has to answer by going to the inside unit, pressing the button and talking.

My wife could be in the lounge, the kitchen or the study so there is no logical place for a single fixed 'inside' unit. When the doorbell rings, she typically has to adjust her wheelchair from whatever mode it is in to 'movement mode' - that often takes 45 seconds, then she has to travel to the front door, that can take another minute, then she has to change her chair to a higher position so she can open the door which can take another minute, by which time the caller has assumed no one is in and has gone.

I know I could speed the operation by adding an auto-door opener, but she still needs to alert the caller that she is in / she is coming and a fixed intercom unit inside the house could take her 1.5 minutes to get to, so what I need is either something she can carry and use wherever she is or better still, something that she can talk to wherever she is...

Hence my thought that the Echo could be part of the solution...


Re: For Disabled/Elderly
« Reply #29 on: December 08, 2016, 02:04:24 pm »
Yes, I meant a good old fashioned intercom, but I will modify that comment by saying a modern, old fashioned intercom.  By this I mean a transmitter outside by door, with the receiver not being stationary, but rather a transportable receiver that is wireless so the person inside can have the receiver with them (in their pocket, etc).  I would think that intercoms like this exist today.  I guess I would search for "wireless intercom" at Amazon or elsewhere.  (It would basically be like a walkie-talkie.)

The problem I see with using Echo like this is it is designed to converse with Alexa and no one else.