Ralph The Home Assistant
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RALPH the Home Assistant is an environmental control unit designed for use by individuals with spinal cord injury and severe physical disabilities. This computerized system automates a variety of home management tasks, enabling users to perform them by voice command or push-button access. The basic package includes a computer system, software, and nine controllers for wall switches, appliances, and lamps. Microphones, speakers, remote control and motion sensors, and actual configuration to be used are determined by a user survey of needs and home configuration. A device connected to anappliance module can be turned on or off immediately or at a specified time. Lamps connected to a lamp module or wall switch module can be turned on or off or dimmed immediately or at a specified time. Dimming occurs in five percent increments from fifteen percent to 100 percent brightness.The system can also open and close and lock and unlock conventional hinged doors, operate sliding doors with optional operators attached, and open and close blinds or drapes with the required optional operator attached immediately, at a preset time, or at sunrise and sunset. Other capabilities include infrared control of televisions, DVD players, VCRs, and home theaters; thermostat control; monitoring motion and movement inside and outside the home; answering the telephone and acting as an answering machine and provide remote control of system functions from any telephone. The system is also capable of contacting specific people when certain conditions occur, with support for up to 128 conditions. Calls can be placed from different lists, with up to six names on each list, and call receipt confirmation can be required. The system can also provide alarm reminders and medication reminders with confirmation and refill alert. Other capabilities include shopping list with printing capability; retrieving and reading news and weather from the Internet; and retrieve and maintain up-to-date channel listings and program summaries. By replacing the doorbell, the system enables the user to answer the door by answering the telephone when a special ring sounds. The system can operate a recirculator pump to have hot water available at fixtures when needed, serve as a home security system, and utilize voice systems (voice training for up to eight users is required) for dictation and to create E-mail. The system is capable of utilizing English, Spanish, Italian, and French; however, all commands must be spoken in English grammar format. RALPH has a personality and a "back story" with a history, gender, and likes and dislikes to make it seem more like a companion than a computer. Asking questions will lead to a response, frequently another question, leading to a conversation. OPTIONS: Yearly support contract with software upgrades and access to a script library, news and weather retrieval upgrade (Internet connection required), medication reminder scripts, phone upgrade with emergency dialer and remote monitor, drapery controler, infrared remote control upgrade, doorbell intercom system, thermostat control, backup generator, uninterruptible power supply (recommended), adiitional lamp controllers with software, additional appliance controllers with software, and additional wall switch controllers with software.