Innovation for Independence

Touch id doorbell and entry system

Publish date:
16/01/2015 - 4:24pm
Last updated:
16/01/2015 - 4:24pm
Joff McGill_Sense

If you rely on tactile communication and the doorbell rings how do you identify the visitor and know whether or not it's safe to open the door? If you think you heard something outside how do you know someone is there or not? Independently two deafblind people have approached Sense with the same idea. People with sight or hearing can look through a window or peep-hole, use a video or audio entryphone system or open the door on a chain. Deafblind people who need tactile communication, cannot use these methods. So they have three options: ignore the doorbell and risk missing important visitors; open the door without knowing who is there; rely on remote assistance. The idea would identity a visitor before opening the door, increasing safety, autonomy, control of the environment and individual confidence. Key elements to the system would be: • a fingerprint scanner, face recognition system or other biometric scanner resilient enough to cope with being outside and ensuring accuracy even with wet / dirty skin • internet connectivity • a central database enabling individuals to register and organisations to register all approved visitors / inspectors (ideally linking with existing ID schemes) • alert system, possibly via smartphones

Insight & Impact

The issue has been highlighted independently by two deafblind people who have been considering technology as part of the inclusive technology prize. On a daily basis they experience problems around communication, accessing information and getting around as a result of their dual sensory impairment and others’ response to it. Not knowing whether it is safe to open the door or not can be frustrating, worrying, and lead to isolation and missed opportunities. Solving the problem will increase security for people living independently, increase social connections and ensure people are able to contribute as full and active members of their community and society. Deafblind people described the potential impact of the idea as increasing safety, control of the environment and individual confidence.

Skills needed for this project

  • Advice about the robustness of existing products, technologies and systems we can take advantage of
  • Product / technology design skills
  • Input from organisations providing services to the public who need to visit homes
  • Advice on costing and pricing