Mobility and visual impairment application

A  different application and use case to set up this time, and not a dementia application.

Scenario is elderly couple:

  • He has increasing visual impairment and is unable to use laptop / smartphone easily
  • She is limited in mobility (doesn’t have a strong voice) and has to sleep downstairs
  • Living at home, but need support, but want to remain independent as long as possible.

So what are the objectives?

  • Enable wife to turn on bedroom lights, put radio on etc. without having to get out of bed or raise her husband to do for her
  • Be able to summon husband wherever he is in house
  • Be able to summon for carer/visitor wherever they are in house
  • Either of the couple to be able to make phone calls to family with voice control only
  • Allow husband to play radio, remember where things are and make phone calls with voice commands, and in future automate other aspects such a audio books, email as his vision declines

What has been installed?

  • Google Home Mini in the downstairs bedroom
  • Google Home Mini upstairs
  • Smart Bulbs in downstairs bedroom and landing, with hub plugged into router (Philips Hue)
  • Smart socket to control bedside light (TP Link)
  • Total cost of less than £200 ($250)
    • assuming you have access to smartphone/tablet to set this up
    • assuming broadband with wifi in house, with wifi signal in rooms where devices are being set-up


What are they able to do?

Custom Routines

  • OK Google “morning” [turns lights on / gives date & time and plays Radio 4]
  •  OK Google “get help” [broadcast message on all speakers in house “Please will you come and help wifes_name. Thank you”]
  •  OK Google “get husband_name” [broadcast message on all speakers in house  “Husband_name please will you come and help Barbara. Thank you”]




  • OK Google “Turn on all the lights.”
  • OK Google “Turn on Bedroom lights.”
  • OK Google “Turn off all the lights.”
  • OK Google “Are all the lights on in the Bedroom?”
  • OK Google “Brighten the Bedroom lights to 75%.”
  • OK Google “Dim the lights in the Bedroom.”
  • OK Google “Brighten the Bedroom lights by 20%.”
  • OK Google “Turn on my Bedroom Light.”


Socket (Bedside light)

  • OK Google “Turn on bedside”
  • OK Google “Turn of bedside”

Telephone Calls

  • OK Google Call [contact name]
  • OK Google Call Allan Mobile
  • OK Google Call Alice Work
  • OK Google Call Amanda
  • OK Google Call Amy

To end call

  • Say “OK Google, stop/disconnect/end call/hang up.”

Radio / Music

  • OK Google play BBC Radio 4
  • OK Google play BBC Radio 5 live
  • OK Google Stop

Music set up with Spotify free account

  • OK Google play Beetles
  • OK Google play Classical Music
  • OK Google play Opera
  • OK Google play bbc Radio4 archers podcast (plays latest episode)


  • OK Google volume up
  • OK Google volume down
  • OK Google volume 10%
  • OK Google volume 50%
  • OK Google volume 100%

Remembering things

  • OK Google remember my keys are in the hall cabinet
  • OK Google where are my keys


What are the challenges

  • This technology is totally inaccessible for a non-smart phone home 😦
  • setting up and managing via a 3rd party smartphone, is not simple
  • changes in the google home application & set-up make it hard for others not using daily to be able to manage and set up
    • in this set-up with two users, to make calls this is now treated as “secure” access to the google account, so “voice match” recognition is needed, which means for two people to get access to phone call option, two google accounts are needed, with duplicate address books
    • For those that have not used multiple google accounts on a single android handset, it’s confusing and sometimes difficult. BEaring in mind if you are setting up on your own handset you may be dealing with 3 accounts!
  • Relatively new Android tablet or phone required for the Philips HUe application, which could represent a cost barrier to access for disadvantaged


But this technology has massive potential to help and assist, so worth the effort.


What was the process for setup and installation


Note the tablet/smartphone you are using to setup should be connected to the wifi in the house.

  1. create google accounts for each user in house (user_1) and (user_2)
  2. add phone numbers (contacts) for those you will want to call to both accounts
  3. for the smartphone (tablet you will set up)
    1. install google home if not running
    2. instal tp link kasa (create account with prime of emails in (1) above)
    3. install philips hue app (create account with prime of emails in (1) aobec)
  4. set up hue lights
    1. plug in hub
    2. plug in bulb
    3. open app and follow instructions for adding new light
  5. set up kasa socket
  6. set up google home mini (use handset logged on with prime account from (1)
    1. if first time used
    2. if need reset
    3. name the room
    4. set up voice “voice match” by asking “ok google call x”)
    5. repeat for 2nd google home mini
  7. Set-up “voice match” for 2nd user and account
    1. use smartphone and login as user 2
    2. importantly you need to do this allow “voice match” customisation on each unit, by defaults it only adds the “voice match”  to the units you set it up on!

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