Home Assistant for everyone

With Home Assistant, we want to help people live their life, while helping out in the background. I wrote about this in 2016 when I detailed my view on the perfect home automation. We’ve been working towards this ever since.

In 2019 we focused on “Make It Easier” (see State of the Union for details). We made Home Assistant easier to use, configure and to contribute to. Every time we make it easier, we become accessible to more people. There is still a ton we can make easier, and that’s great because 2020 is around the corner and we need things to do :-)

During Thanksgiving, Home Assistant made it to #1 on Hacker News, a social news website focusing on computer science and entrepreneurship. The comments had lots of users chiming in with their positive experiences. One comment stood out to me and I wanted to share it:

Just wanted to say that my life as a quadriplegic would be 13.4 million percent more crap without Home Assistant. Being quadriplegic and having something as open as Home Assistant is absolutely amazing, I have automated absolutely everything in the house and home assistant has not choked once.

Couple that with one of the friendliest communities for newbies I have come across in a long time and you have something really awesome.

I've been using it for a couple of years, I have tried all the other open source alternatives but nothing really comes close for me. I'm actually fiddling with my installation right now as it were.

I cannot plug my phone in to charge it up myself obviously, so I am writing a little automation that will check who is in the house and announce through the speakers my phone needs charging up or send them a text message if I have their phone number when my mobile phone charge gets below 20%.

Totally cool beanz and I am totally serious about how much easier this makes my life as a quadriplegic.

escapologybb on Hacker News

This is just great. I love how this user can live a more comfortable life. It’s really motivating.

I also really like the first reply to the above comment. It highlights how we tend to judge things from our perspective and don’t paint the whole picture.

Thanks for your comment. I came to this discussion with my blinkers on, so to speak, pre -judging how I need less automation in my world, and you give concrete evidence how someone's "meh" can be balanced by untold advantages (13.4 million, in fact) of such a system.

Thanks for making me eat humble pie and broadening my views. Sometimes more tech is helpful indeed.

Ps: The way you're applying it is creative and awesome too!

cmroanirgo on Hacker News

As Home Assistant grows and evolves, let’s make sure we don’t judge the additions and changes based on just our own perspective and needs. Think about how it can help other (potential) Home Assistant users. It’s our goal that a privacy-focused home automation platform is within everyone’s reach, regardless of background, location or income.

Paulus


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.home-assistant.io/blog/2019/12/01/home-assistant-for-everyone/
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Not only does Home Assistant work miracles for the disabled but also in helping the elderly maintain their independence.

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I came by Home Assistant because I needed something to help my wife, who is disabled due to injury, maintain some independence and control that she wouldn’t ordinarily have. While I think home automation is fun and cool from a geek point of view, it really does have the power to positively impact someone’s life.
More about our journey here:

https://andrewhoover.info/blog/categories/home-automation.html

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That is so very cool!

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Yup, and I meant every single word of it.

– Escapologybb on Hacker News

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Would there be any benefit to starting a group specifically to discuss home assistant for those with disabilities? Does such a group already exist?

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Good idea. I would also include users with chronic illnesses. I am diabetic, I would not call it a disability, but it certainly is a chronic (ie lifetime) illness. There are threads here about using HA with continuous glucose monitoring to create alarms for carers/parents if blood sugars drops too low, I think this sort of topic could be in a similar character.

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Yeah that’s a very valid point too. The only thing I’d be concerned about is users coming to rely on potentially fallible systems when providing potentially life critical care.

That makes it even more useful to set up such a group. There could be a discussion about what is possible, what should be avoided, taking into account the special needs that come with all kind of illness or disabilities.

For me, it’s not supposed to be life threatening, if a sensor in HA fails, but in some cases redundancy will be necessary.

It’s a good idea, do it! :slight_smile:

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Yes, I have been asleep for two days because being quadriplegic is really inconvenient sometimes.

I will second or third the idea of a “special” group.

I will do this with the massive massive caveat that it not become a pity party. I am deadly serious about this, I don’t care who runs the group but whoever does has to have a rod of iron when it comes to this sort of thing, otherwise everyone would just end up focusing on The Tragedy That Is Quadriplegia™. That is not useful for anybody.

Disability problems are logistical problems, for instance I just had an attack of Autonomic Dysreflexia and previously my body would have informed me with only a couple of minutes leeway which was not ideal. But now, I can notification by telegram when my fit that notices that my heart rate has been below 50 bpm for more than 30 seconds.

Again I do not rely upon this to notify me of an attack, it is just another layer. Here is an image that I annotated try and explain things. Hopefully it is illuminating.

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That would be useful, indeed! :slight_smile: I don’t like the term, but it should be a “strictly factually related discussion” about technical or logistical problems. Everyone should be clear about, that people will be looking for solutions to problems, not pity for their life (at least this is what I’ve been told by a lot of people - I work sometimes as a school bus driver for disabled children).

But, let’s get to the point: how would you suggest to do it? I’d prefer doing it here in the forum, and not let’s say Facebook or so.

Someone should contact @balloob to create a subforum, how about “Home Assistant for Disability and Health Issues”.

Hmmm, not that I wouldn’t like the title, but here we have to tread carefully. Everywhere in the area of medicine or health one needs to be clear, that there is no medical advice given.

Maybe a subcategory under “Share your projects” named “for special needs”?

Share your projects is for finished projects or work in progress. Not everything in the category will be suitable for the share your projects. Some will be simple questions.

Certainly the normal disclaimers about no medical advice etc will need to be made clear.

For a awhile I’ve been searching example automations that specifically cater to those with medical obstacles. Many examples I’ve seen are extraordinary, but I’m not sure if using automations that uses geofencing would be of much use to someone who is homebound, or if it does, posting such examples would be excellent.

If such a forum would be created, I’d prefer it would include projects and explain how it’s helped the person for a better quality of life. In fact, I’d like to propose a title: Home Automation for a Better Quality of Life.

A title with “Home Assistant…” in it sounds like a nurse making routine medical visits at the person’s home. (I mean no offense…it is just my humble opinion).:slightly_smiling_face:

LOL good point. Similarly “special needs” gets my thumbs down.

Oops, my bad I was joking when I put “special”, I meant it more as a placeholder because a lot of people will see that I’m completely lose their minds. Similarly for “differently abled” which personally I think is hilarious, but again (some) people will totally lose their sh*t about the title. And in my not inconsiderable experience in this field, it will be a small minority of people who will be both incredibly loud and able-bodied. Make of that what you will…

More importantly it will detract from the actual work of the group, so I suggest something utterly generic like:

Home Assistant For People of Extraordinary Ability And Unusually Those Who Are Unusually Handsome…

(Man, jokes do not work as well in text!)

Okay, how about We make this group a benevolent dictatorship and I vote for me to be that benevolent dictator and the new name of the group will be…

Group 449

It is absolutely perfect, it’s like Management Consultant in that everybody knows what those two words mean individually but collectively have no idea what management consultant does so it is utterly bland. those people who know What the group does will know, those who don’t know won’t know. And honestly, accessibility space is not that big So it won’t take that long for an project like this to become a known place to get excellent home automation advice if you have some physical problem which Home Assistant can help with.

What do we think?

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