The environment controller is a device that enables disabled person to take full control of the house they live in and all its component from a certain distance.
However, environment controllers that already exist in the market are expensive, not centralized and very ergonomic and limited in terms of adding new functionalities. The interface could also be improved in order to be more intuitive, pleasant and modern.
Thus, our study provides a centralized and ergonomic solution. N@utilus is able to add new functionalities according to the disabilities and needs of users. Moreover, this is an environment controller that has the characteristic to be used thanks to any support with an internet connection: Smartphone, touch tablet.
The N@utilus team is a group of five students from the university ECE Paris. During 7 months, we met at least once a week in order to realize an environment controller, usable by people with physical disabilities. The first step of our project was the analysis of needs. So, we worked closely with an occupational therapist and a disabled person that we saw several times. Once the specification need and the project planning were defined, we:
* Examined the environment in which our product will tend to evolve : we contacted some market actors in order to understand specificities, problematic and issues of the market.
* Established the most ergonomic user interface (software)
* Established a single board computer (Raspberry PI : hardware) with the widest possible communication systems.
Results: the population that we expected to target was people with physical disabilities who were able to use a touchscreen and/or a joystick, a track-ball or by any other means of navigation. However, we had to reduce our target population to people who can only use a touchscreen because we were not able to make a device that allows to integrate other navigation systems in our interface.
Our solution « N@utilus » is an environment controller that has the characteristic to be used thanks to any support with an internet connection: Smartphone, touch tablet. Our environment controller has different communication systems: radio, Wi-Fi and infrared. These different systems allow to cover several disabled people installations. Moreover, as the solution is open source, a lot of development opportunities may be considered on our product (add new functionalities, user interface customization…)
In spite of a limited time scale, we established an environment controller that will be able to meet the needs of numerous people with physical disabilities.