Generally, interior design is at its most cutting-edge in high-end homes, where resources for building are plentiful and overseen by the most innovative minds in architecture.
Here, in this conducive environment, technology and accessibility have begun to intersect. This intersection – between what we know of technology, and how we understand individuals with diverse needs navigate their life – has encouraged innovations galore, with the development of ultra-smart home features like voice-controlled lighting, smart energy management, and bespoke platform lifts.
Yet, there is far more to be uncovered about the inclusive innovation happening in upscale properties across the UK. Below, then, we have taken a closer look at some of those exciting developments.
Bespoke Platform Lifts
Platform lifts enable individuals with mobility challenges to freely move between different levels of a building with independence. When these lifts are made bespoke to high-end homes, they are often more comfortable and easier to use, installed seamlessly into the surrounding environment.
Some of the most important features of platform lifts – which help distinguish these technologies as some of the most accessible installations on the market – include:
- A spacious platform design – Platform lifts tend to be spacious to accommodate not only wheelchairs, but also a vast range of other mobility devices; the user and their equipment should fit in with enough room to manoeuvre.
- Low entry thresholds – The typically lower entry thresholds of bespoke platform lifts enable easier movement from the ground to the lift platform, facilitating a smoother entry and exit.
- Guardrails and safety edges – Features like guardrails and safety edges work to protect the passenger on the platform lift, and their mobility device.
- Automatic controls – Often, platform lifts are automated. An automated platform lift requires very little physical effort to operate, making it accessible for individuals with varying levels of mobility.
You might consider purchasing bespoke platform lifts for your own needs from certified experts in the industry, such as the specialists at Alliance Platform Lifts. Working closely with architects and property owners, Alliance Platform Lifts creates a range of luxury platform lifts for high-end homes, constructed with precision and designed to meet every conceivable requirement.
For upscale homeowners with diverse needs, voice-controlled lighting can alleviate several of the difficulties that traditional manually operated lighting often poses.
For example, light switches may be installed too high to be reached from mobility devices like wheelchairs, and the switches’ design itself may be inaccessible or painful to use. Certain conditions like paralysis or arthritis may make the manipulation of switches impossible.
A workaround for this, commonly seen in high-end properties and implemented through a complex system of smart bulbs, is a voice-controlled lighting system; by using your voice to turn bulbs off and on, every light fixture in your house can be conveniently operated hands-free.
Even adjusting the brightness or colour of bulbs is made simple! Importantly, individuals are able to cater their lighting environment to fulfil their unique requirements, because of the range of customisable options available for voice commands, and lights in multi-functional spaces.
To accommodate wheelchairs and other mobility aids, automated ramps are swiftly becoming an important consideration for several high-end homes, and recent advancements in technology are making their use more common. And although automated ramps remain largely under development, they provide important opportunities for saving space in an accessible home – in future, they could be programmed to fold away, or to retreat into a nook in the floor after use.
Automated ramps are a vital part of inclusive innovation because they provide accessibility for individuals with a range of disabilities, including cerebral palsy or amputation.
Smart Energy Management
Many high-end homes have implemented smart energy management to automate everything from electricity use to temperature control. A smart energy management system works by recording the flow of energy and/or electricity in the home with a mixture of hardware installed throughout the property and software linked to the Internet.
Smart appliances can be connected to this system and adjusted to operate on an energy-saving schedule. Even the heating and cooling of your home can be strictly controlled.
This proves extremely useful as an accessible feature. The management of water, energy and other household necessities can be difficult if you struggle with poor mobility, or if you have disabilities that impact on how you regulate your bodily temperature. Automating these processes relieves a stressful burden as a result!
Outside of the high-end environment, where resources can be allocated to meet a range of disability needs, accessibility inside and outside of the home remains a problem.
The greater the availability and implementation of access ramps, platform lifts and smart technology for which innovation and research can be supported, the better – to eventually benefit all individuals with disabilities, not just the elite few.