17 June 2004
From his HP PC station in his new
home, Derrick Daniels of Birmingham, Alabama, will be able to
operate the lights, doors, ceiling fans, TVs and other appliances.
For Derrick, who became quadriplegic after an accident, his ABILITY
House is the beginning of regained independence.
Five-Day "Blitz Build"
An ABILITY House is an affordable, accessible
home built for a low-income family where one or more members have a
disability. To ABILITY Magazine, "accessible" represents a world
without restrictive man-made barriers.
all ranges of disabilities united at Derrick's homesite on May 17
for the blitz build, which incredibly took only five days to
complete. Derrick is the first recipient of an ABILITY House that
features smart-home technology to create the barrier-free
environment. BellSouth, sponsor of the event, provided extensive
telephone technology and services, including an electronic
remote-control voice-activated speakerphone, talking caller ID and
BellSouth Internet service.
HP Technology Plays Integral Part
Further increasing Derrick's independence, the ABILITY
House also includes an HP Pavilion Media Center PC with a 17" flat
screen monitor, an HP printer-copier-scanner all-in-one device and
an HP Photosmart digital camera. HP products incorporate
accessibility features such as special keystrokes that are
compatible with assistive technology devices and
In fact, HP places much importance on
accessibility in its products, and has a team dedicated to the
effort - the HP Accessibility Program Office. In support of HP's
'Total Customer Experience' objectives, the team promotes making the
benefits of technology accessible to customers, partners and
employees, including those with disabilities. This extends to HP's
web site, customer support, and particularly to product design and
"We're pleased to provide the technology for the
new ABILITY House," says Michael Takemura, director of HP's
accessibility program. "The HP technology in the house will serve as
a model for future homes where information and technology can be
accessible to persons with and without disabilities."
Experts from BellSouth and HP
will continue to evaluate Derrick to determine what types of
assistive technologies will best allow him to independently use his
PC. In addition to managing lights and appliances throughout his
home, the assistive technology also will provide Derrick the freedom
to work on his computer, browse the Internet and complete his
Computer Science college assignments.
The ABILITY House program is an example of what
can happen when leaders of two organizations - ABILITY Awareness and
Habitat for Humanity International - decide to pursue a common goal.
For ABILITY Awareness, a nonprofit organization dedicated to
enhancing the lives of people with disabilities, the ABILITY House
program is one of its hallmarks. The program was recently honored
with a Presidential Community Volunteer Award by President
"This build will send a powerful message," says
Millard Fuller, founder and president of Habitat for Humanity
International. "People with disabilities can make a house into a