Curtains that close at a blink of the eye and a magic carpet where residents with cerebral palsy can play football are just two of the high-tech innovations at a London care home which opened last week.
Norwood’s new £1.1 million state-of-the-art smart facility in Lyonsdown Road, Barnet, offers £600k worth of cutting-edge assistive technology to help tenants lead independent lives.
The charity’s chief executive Elaine Kerr said: “Norwood’s first smart house sets a high standard we want to continue in the future.”
Home manager Sharon Harrison says tenants such as Joe Scoates, 23 and Stephanie Harris, 24, who both have speech and visual difficulties due to cerebral palsy, can now become “as independent as possible within their own home”, thanks to a device called Eye Gaze, which uses an advanced infrared sensor camera to control doors and curtains through individual iris recognition.
She added: “It’s fantastic. With staff support, Steph and Joe can choose their own meals, switch TV channels and even select their own outfits on the interactive playback screen. There is also an option to call their families and it’s all through using their eyes.”
The supported living accommodation includes a sensory room equipped with programmable LED lights and beanbags. Stephanie, Joe and future tenants can physically interact with a “magic carpet” using their wheelchairs, which makes items on the electronic mat move.
“There are over 500 game options including football and leaves,” says Kayleigh. “Joe and Stephanie can simultaneously track their movements through the ‘magic mirror’-a sensory TV with a camera. It also features thirty different interactive games, coupled with lights and sounds.”
The specially-adapted house also includes a wheelchair-friendly kitchen, featuring an electronic breakfast bar, which has an height adjustable switch. Doors around the house can also be opened manually by pressing extra-large buttons.
Stephanie’s mother Judith Harris said: “With this technology, my daughter truly feels truly independent and responsible for her own choices.”
Pictures courtesy of Norwood: