Assistive Technology: Google Home

Google Home is working with Goole assistance which is a virtual assistant. It’s a new technology which came out less than 10 years. It supports Voice control, connecting with smart devices, providing common information including news, schedules, and common knowledge. 

My wife recently gave birth and she was experiencing a disability because of a cesarean section. We hired a part-time assistant and she had to figure most of the things out herself when the assistant was off. Thankfully, we had a Google Home device linking with many devices such as shades, lights, TV, and so on.

Google Home is a virtual assistant along with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomePod. It gives a lot of information that people need using Voice control. Also, it supports managing basic applications and many supportive hardware devices. It has a lot of features that make people’s lives better.

First of all, Voice control is a key feature on the device to help people to do things using only voice. For example, people can add plans to their calendar, get today’s news, ask general questions, and call someone. It works for a functional solutions model of disability which helps people with disability which means Voice control can eliminate disabled people’s limitations. When my wife came back home after a cesarean section, she could check the schedules, set alarms for breastfeeding while she was on the bed. She could do it using a mobile phone either but she didn’t want to use it because of electromagnetic. I thought it’s a huge benefit for disabled people and a great example of a functional solutions model of accessibility.

Another feature is to control compatible smart devices such as lights, thermostats, TV, window blinds, and so on. We’ve been controlling a lot of devices physically. This feature aims to solve a medical model of disability. For instance, disabled people who have issues with moving are not easy to control physical switches so that smart lights can help them a lot. Usually, most of the smart lights can be controlled by remote controls so disabled people hold it to control lights and other smart devices previously before virtue assistance came out. By connecting smart devices including lights to the virtual assistant, handicapped people can easily control devices. 

There are a lot more features that can make people’s life easier and more convenient. It’s not only for disabled people but also for various types of people such as kids, seniors, and people who are vulnerable with languages. Furthermore, people who use virtual assistances are not even required to see screens so color blind people can easily use it. So virtual assistance mainly helps a social model of disability which means breaking social barriers.

Virtual assistants are the innovational products these days. In the near future, its usage can be extended to everywhere beyond home devices. It’s already started such as a robot in the restaurant can take orders and serve to the customers. This technology is the one that can solve the common social model of disability. People will not be required knowledge to use smart devices, read languages, try to figure colors out. However, it still needs to be improved to support more various people who have deafness. Also, still, this can’t solve economic models of disability due to the cost to set up at home as new technology. I wish the technology can be less expensive to be affordable when it becomes a common technology and all of the people can access, use, apply it in their life.