Automation system improves access and independence for Calgary man
Published Friday, January 29, 2016 5:09PM MST
Last Updated Friday, January 29, 2016 8:00PM MST
A local company has changed the life of a young man who suffers from cerebral palsy by integrating the latest technology into his home to help him with the little things that many of us take for granted.
Ryan Kostiuk, 24, was born with cerebral palsy and is now a quadriplegic.
In the past, a family member or caregiver had to be home with Kostiuk at all times to help out but that changed after his neighbour noticed that he was having issues accessing some of the things in his home.
“I go to bed and the caregiver leaves, then somebody else has to lock the door when they leave or certain light switches in the house that are just difficult for me to reach or TV remotes being left in a place that’s inconvenient, “said Kostiuk.
Kostiuk’s neighbour Mike Dummer is the president of Digital Lifestyles, a company that integrates technology into homes to fit the needs of the homeowner.
“One day, Mike was in the garage tuning up his motorcycles and I pull up, just coming home, and he says ‘Hey Ryan, you know, I do a lot of this home automation stuff and I’ve always wanted to start a project to help somebody with mobility issues and I think that we can automate your light switches and automate your locks and I’ve got a supplier that can give us all the equipment, what do you say we give it a go?’ And I said gee that sounds pretty neat,” said Kostiuk.
“It’s a home automation system that is specially adapted for Ryan and the challenges he faces and what we did was took some existing devices and existing software and adapted it so that it would make his daily living easier for him,” said Dummer. “We literally wrote software and designed hardware for Ryan and to make the system work.”
Dummer and his team got to work right away, swapping out some switches and setting up the automation system and had the whole thing up and running within a few months.
Kostiuk can now control everything from an app on his smartphone and says the system works beautifully.
“It’s changed my life and it’s made me a lot more independent. Just in the sense that I don’t have worry about who’s going to lock the front door,” said Kostiuk. “Dad can clean out the closet and put his golf clubs in front of the light switches and I don’t have worry because I can control all the switches from my mobile.”
“For him, he’s told me that it’s a game changer,” said Dummer. “What we’ve done is transferred all of those sort of manual functions and we’ve automated them.”
Dummer and Kostiuk hope initiatives like this will eventually be eligible for government subsidies.
“Independence is everything. For me, I would say, the two most important things are family support and independence and the more that I can do things for myself and feel that I don’t have to rely on others, I have more piece of mind,” said Kostiuk.
To learn more about Digital Lifestyles, click HERE.
(With files from Jamie Mauracher)