Blackwood to display ‘smart’ home for disabled users at AGM

Blackwood externalA scale replica of a highly accessible concept house for people with disability or mobility issues is to be showcased by Blackwood at its AGM.

The housing and care provider is planning to construct a “home expo style” walk-through version of the concept house, which will demonstrate the various innovative designs and inventions aimed at making everyday life easier for disabled people.

A washing machine that also dries and irons clothes, kitchen appliances and worktops that rise and fall at the touch of a button and a spoon that doesn’t spill are just some of the cutting-edge inventions that will be on display.

Blackwood’s Smart Technology care project will also take centre stage, a state-of-the-art system of connected touch screen devices which can influence almost everything in the house from the ability to open curtains, to switching on TVs, ordering shopping or planning care and support with family and friends.

The ‘AGM with a difference’, which will focus on how technology really can help people live more independently through digital inclusion, will be held at the Edinburgh’s renowned Dynamic Earth venue on 15th September, with a team of builders working around the clock to build the impressive structure in less than 24 hours.

Fanchea Kelly, chief executive at Blackwood, said: “We always strive to create an ‘AGM with a difference’ and we are most definitely doing that this year by taking on such ambitious project, with such tight timescales.

“Next year we will be launching our highly accessible concept house in Dundee and we want to demonstrate to as many people as possible what can be achieved through modern technology to improve disabled people’s lives, every single day.

“All of the inventions are tested by residents at Blackwood who give valuable feedback on how the designs can be improved, which helps ensure that they are as effective as possible and that there is a constant challenge to evolve and improve. This is co-design in practice and we are most interested in the feedback we will get from customers and from fellow professionals.

“Our customers are at the heart of everything we do and we believe technology can be a powerful catalyst for innovation and design in the independent living sector; the Concept House is central to this.”

Blackwood bathroomOther innovative creations of the house on display include an oven door that folds inwards, therefore more easily accessible for a wheelchair user, and a bathroom sink and toilet on track systems, which can be moved up and down as required.

The replica home will also display the improved aesthetics of the concept house, while bright colours are used on white backgrounds where necessary to help those with visual impairments.

Fanchea added: “Although the real driver behind the concept house is using technology to improve independent living, it is important that it also looks good so people can truly enjoy being in their home.

“For us it must be beautiful and move far from the kind of medical or institutional look that care homes have tended to have in the past.

“It’s a very exciting time for us with the launch of our Concept House in Dundee scheduled for 2016. We’re already testing our smart technology care system in Stirling and Dundee with residents and tenants keen to get involved.

“We would be delighted to have as many people as possible visiting our event to give us feedback on both the house and the care system and identify any improvements that can be made while both are still in the development stage. It will be a truly interactive day as we aim to capture this information from the experts.

“We very much pride ourselves on being at the forefront of the housing and care sector, but to remain there it’s vital that we listen to the ever evolving needs of our service-users to help shape our future and we hope the AGM will provide the perfect platform to do just that.”


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