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Ability House uses HP products to help man paralyzed from gunshot wound


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17 June 2004

Picture of Derrick DanielsFrom 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. 

Volunteers with 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 man using a sawan 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 applications.

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 engineering.

"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.

Building Dreams

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 Bush. 

"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 home."  

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