This foundation is giving disabled vets independence via smart home tech

The past two decades of America’s war on terror have taken a high toll on those who served in those conflicts. While medical technology has gotten better over time, the number of service members who are coming back with post-traumatic stress injuries and missing limbs has climbed higher over time. But one charitable organization is taking a futuristic approach to veterans’ post-modern challenges by designing smart homes for them that are designed to empower them with real independence.

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, based in Staten Island, New York, is working with general contractors and architects to design and build smart homes that are specifically designed to meet the needs of disabled veterans. Thus far, the foundation has spent over $60 million on more than 75 smart homes toward a goal of building 200 smart homes for wounded and injured service members. It’s similar to what award-winning actor Gary Sinise is doing with his own foundation to help veterans.

The smart home technology that the foundation employs in these smart homes for veterans is not only, well, smart but also clever and purposeful. Among a variety of smart features, the homes employ a multi-zone audio system for the treatment of post-traumatic stress injury, motorized entry and exit doors, and a centralized phone system with room-to-room intercom and front door communications.

To make veterans feel secure, the smart homes come with a day and night surveillance system that covers the entire outside perimeter while all doors and windows are wired into a fully monitored security system. Modern touches like intelligent thermostats, automatic door locks, and automatic toilet bowls add another layer of comfort while the entire house can be controlled via smartphone, iPad or voice. The joint even has a backup generator in case the power goes out.

“Our mission is to show our gratitude for the sacrifices and service of the U.S. Armed Services returning from war who have been catastrophically injured by building smart technology homes so they can regain their independence,” the foundation says of its purposeful endeavors. “Smart homes technology has a myriad of features designed to accommodate wheelchairs and give our catastrophically injured service members independence and safety at home.”

The program is restricted to members of the U.S. Armed Forces whose combat experience or training for deployment have resulted in serious injuries including paraplegia, quadriplegia, and multiple amputations. However, the Smart Home Program is only one part of a multi-pronged approach to supporting veterans that includes paying off mortgages for service members and first responders who have been injured or killed, supporting Gold Star families, and educating citizens via a traveling exhibit about 9/11 as well as a National Run, Walk and Climb series of public events. The foundation was formed to honor firefighter Stephen Siller of Brooklyn’s Squad 1, who lost his life responding to the events of 9/11.

Emerging Tech

Delivery robots are poised to invade our cities, but are we ready for them?

Across the United States, small startups and big businesses alike are clamoring to swarm city streets with fleets of autonomous delivery robots. The only problem? Our urban areas aren't always well-equipped to accommodate them
Trash

Still listening on tinny, muffled TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.
Deals

Get a deduction on SimpliSafe prices for Tax Day, free camera on security systems

SimpliSafe took big deductions off its home security systems for income Tax Day. SimpliSafe will deduct 15% off the usual price of SimpliSafe security systems today and add a video security camera with motion and sound detection for free.
Deals

Best Buy slashes prices on Ring, Arlo, and Blink XT home security systems

If you’re looking to secure your pad without the contracts and fees that come with traditional home security services, now’s the time. Best Buy has slashed prices on a number of smart home security systems, with discounts up to $160.
Deals

Amazon drops prices on Nespresso coffee and espresso machines

Amazon has dropped prices on Nespresso coffee machines and a milk frother in an Easter week sale. Nespresso's coffee appliances use single-serve capsules and one-button selection to produce barista-quality espresso and coffee at home.
Smart Home

Watch: Police responding to an alleged buglary find a Roomba, not a robber

Police officers in Washington County, Oregon responded to a call of a potential burglary and were surprised to find the perpetrator was actually just a Roomba. Body cam footage of the encounter has been released.
Deals

Amazon slashes Easter Week prices for Dyson vacuums and air purifiers

Amazon slashed the prices on many Dyson high-tech products, including vacuum cleaners, air purifiers, and more for Easter Week. Dyson's premium household tools attract millions of fans and Amazon took deep discounts on popular products.
Smart Home

What you need to know before buying a new washer and dryer

Washers and dryers are big, expensive appliances that you'll want to last for decades. Our buying guide will help you sift through all the options and find the best machines for you.
Deals

Amazon and Best Buy halve the price of the Facebook Portal for Mother’s Day

Amazon and Best Buy both cut the price in half for the Facebook Portal smart display for Mother's Day. The Portal's smart camera will follow you as you move around the room during video calls. The Portal also has Amazon Alexa built in.
Smart Home

From the kitchen to the bedroom, here are the best Alexa tips and tricks

Amazon's voice assistant Alexa has plenty of neat skills. So many, in fact, it seems like new ones appear every day. We've rounded up the top Echo tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your virtual assistant.
Smart Home

Ring home security system now works as a hub for smart home devices

Ring is helping the issue of smart home fragmentation with its Works With Ring program. It lets thousands of smart home devices built on Z-Wave connect to Ring's Alarm Base Station.
Smart Home

Philips Hue users can activate their favorite routines through Google Home

Philips Hue expanded its Google Home integration through the Gentle Sleep and Wake routine. Just give Google the proper instructions are your lights will brighten or dim over half an hour.
Smart Home

There will be 200 million smart speakers by year’s end, analysts say

A new report by the research and analysis firm Canalys predicts that more than 200 million smart speakers will be engaged by users by the end of 2019, which is a growth of over 82% from last year.
Smart Home

Oh, Zuck, no! Facebook rumored to be creating a voice assistant to rival Alexa

Facebook hasn't been a big player in the smart speaker market, but that may be changing: The social media giant is reportedly working on a digital assistant to compete against Alexa and others.