Imagine losing the remote to your TV. Now imagine wanting to go to bed and not being able to get up to shut your TV off! What would you do if you woke up super early, unable to get out of bed? Unable to open a book, turn on a light or watch TV. These scenarios happen often to those with a physical disability. We are dependent on others to pick up a dropped remote, to turn off a light or to hand us a book. However, we now have AMAZING technology that can stand in for our human caregivers! Recently I purchased an Amazon Echo Button. With the help of my personal assistant aka “mom”, I have set up morning and bedtime routines. You may be asking “How can a button help with a bedtime/morning routine?” Well, I will try my best to explain!
The products needed to set this up can costs as little as $100. Of course, it all depends on how fancy you want to get…getting the Echo Dot vs the Echo Show and the quality of the smart plugs you chose to invest in. However much you spend, I can guarantee you will find it 100% worth the investment.
I obtained my products in phases. I started with the first generation Amazon Echo. Over the last several years, I have upgraded to the Echo Show and Echo Dot. Recently, I purchased the smart plugs and Echo Button necessary to make this all happen!
Here is the basic list of products I use to set up a routine operated with a push of a button:
My Echo Set Up
Setting up a routine is quite quick and easy. The options are unlimited in what you can do! I literally have an Alexa device in every room of my apartment…except the bathroom, that would be overkill! It may sound extreme to have that many Amazon Echo devices, but I need the technology in every room. Basically, my disability follows me from room to room!
In my living room, I have an Echo Dot. I use it quite a bit to turn on and off my living room lights. In the past, in between the shifts of my caregivers, there were times the sun would set and I would be sitting in the dark. Now I can turn on my lights either by giving verbal commands or by pushing a button on my phone. It is really nice to have that control!
In my bedroom, I have an Alexa powered Fire TV. On a typical night, I lay in bed several hours before going to sleep. I watch TV and/or play video games during that time. Prior to the Alexa routines, I did this in the dark. Additionally, if I dropped the remote I either had to call my mom to come over and help me out or tough it out with the TV remaining on. Now I can power on/off and control my TV with my voice, phone or remote. I can also shut everything down with a literal touch of a button. In the past I could not have a light on after my caregiver left for the night. Now I can keep the lamp on and shut it off when I am ready for bed!
I have an Echo Show in my office. My office in not set up with any smart devices yet, that is my next project. However, I use my Echo Show everyday for music, information and even entertainment. I love the video aspect of the Show.
In September of 2017, Amazon released a new feature of the Amazon Echo aka Alexa. I actually knew nothing of it until recently, when a friend told me about it. I had to check it out!
Basically, with one command you can set up your Alexa to perform multiple tasks. Here is the absolute most awesome thing…you can also complete this with a simple touch of a button! You may be thinking that is the epitome of laziness. For some…maybe. However, for others like me, it is the key to independence.
My stutter and speech impediment gets the best of me sometimes. Sometimes I have to repeat my commands over and over to Alexa. She does not mind…but it is frustrating for me. Frustration can supercharge my stutter and Alexa does many things, except “speak stutter”. This is all resolved with a simple tap of a button!
Setting up a Routine: Step by Step
First Install Amazon Alexa App
In the left corner click on the three lines to drop this menu. Select Routines.
Click on the plus sign in top left corner to add new routine.
Select “When this happens”
Select your method of activating routine. I will be selecting the button for this article.
Press the Echo Button you will be using until the button turns green.
Begin adding your desired actions for the routine,such as weather, calendar or turning on or off lights using the smart home option.
You can also adjust the setting on Alexa, such as turning the volume up or down.
Alexa routines has greatly improved my quality of life. Prior to owning an Alexa, the control of my electronics were in the hands of others. Being able to listen to music as I work, to change the channel and turn on a light are actions so many take for granted. These new found abilities, I will forever appreciate!
Until next time, Keep Rollin’ and Keep Smilin’
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