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Home is Where the Wifi Is

We’re here — the 21st Century, the Digital Age. More than any other period in history, we have access to an infinite array of gadgets that have the power to change our day to day lifestyle. The remaining question is that of our quality of life. Do all these cords and chargers benefit or inhibit our happiness at home? From youth to old age, there’s undoubtedly some technology out there that will liven up your lifestyle.

Tech for Tots Every parent wants what’s best for their kids. The newness of technology in child-rearing has opened up plenty of criticism about what constitutes a ‘healthy’ amount of time spent in front of screens. While the debates will undoubtedly continue, companies such as Apple are constantly developingeducational programs to supplement their products.

Going beyond brain games, apps are now in development for children and adults with disabilities. For speech, hearing, visual, and social aid, these apps range from free-use to prices in the hundreds, but are all accessible to the consumer. Technology is bringing people closer together, and for those with disabilities, it can make life at home and in social settings that much simpler.

To date, 4,000+ assistive technologies have been designed for the disabled and elderly. This technology includes enhancements to your home, which can make day to day life easier and more comfortable for the whole family. The heart of the home, your kitchen may be an area you would like to utilise, and in effect integrate technology in which to enhance safety and comfort. Mulberry Kitchens for example could help you integrate this technology into the design of your home.

New parents can find solace with all-encompassing baby monitoring devices such as app-accessible cameras. New designs still being tested for the market may defy centuries-old parenting techniques.

The tools we use to monitor our children’s safety are becoming more advanced. What used to be sci-fi fantasy could soon become staples for growing families.

Pet Products A pet is as much a part of the family as its two-legged owners. Sometimes we can’t be there for our furry companions, but luckily our home can take care of some of those basic needs when we aren’t in. Products such as Nibbles allow us to use an app via our smartphones to dispense food for our pet while we are away. Once the device is connected to Wifi, a camera also allows us to view our pet. These apps and devices can be programmed to set a feeding schedule and more advanced systems even allow for owners to speak to their pets.

While many owners opt for tracking chips placed below the skin of their pets, less intrusive and tracking-friendly options exist. Companies such as Dog Tracker Plus offer collar tracking devices for purchase or rent. These GPS units are also app-controlled and some businesses include added features such as fitness tracking and text-message alerts.

Green Gadgets There’s no doubt about it, all these electronics come with a price tag. The power it takes to charge and run our various gadgets can leave behind a monetary and environmental cost. Luckily, low budget devices exist to cut back on some of that electricity.

Solar-powered chargers take advantage of a natural source of power to keep your best-loved gadgets charged up. Various Freeloader products allow you to take advantage of the sun’s rays via your windowsill or out in the wilderness. From £15 to 70 there’s a solar-powered charger in your budget.

One of the biggest issues with our electronic devices is their use of power when they aren’t in use. Luckily, products such as the Intelliplug exist and are specifically, ‘…designed to isolate the mains every time you stop using your equipment and apply power when you are ready to re-engage’, thus saving you money on your bill and helping conserve energy.

Getting Older and Getting Online It’s usually youngsters who are pegged as over-users of social media. But current trends have shown a decline in Facebook users aged 13-24. The biggest social media climbers? Those in the 55+ category have increased their Facebook numbers by 80.4% since 2011. For those who have limited ability to leave their homes, technology has been able to greatly improve their quality of life.

Computers, tablets, and smartphones allow older individuals to stay in touch with those outside their home. Internet access means a decrease in a sense of isolation, the ability to shop online, and it provides stimulation — some studies even suspect computer games may help reduce susceptibility to dementia. E-readers allow those with failing vision to increase font size and have increased the popularity of the audio-book experience.

No matter our age, humans are social creatures. While it seems counter-intuitive that a screen can provide the human contact we need, the numbers are showing that older age categories are embracing the gadget-movement as a means to stay engaged with the world outside their homes.

While there’s some stigma at our tech-saturated world’s inability to ‘turn off’, todays new gadgets are all about increasing our quality of life at home. Get connected and stay connected!

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Chloe Hashemi .

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