The VoQoL Project – Changing Lives

While most people are using the latest technologies to improve their efficiency or simply for greater convenience, there are others for whom these technologies can be a life-changer. Coral Tech has launched the VoQoL (Voice-activated Quality of Life) project, which uses the latest voice-activated devices from companies like Amazon to provide quadriplegic and paraplegic individuals with a much greater level of independence in their daily lives.

 

During 2017, Coral Tech tested VoQoL systems at various care-homes around Cape Town. With a wonderful group of volunteer test candidates, we installed voice-activated devices in their rooms, integrating these devices with various smart devices to control lights, TVs, fans, radios etc. As soon as the installations were completed, our candidates found they could now control many of the functions in their rooms just by speaking to the voice device. It’s a simple as saying “turn on the light” or “turn on channel 2”. This provided a major improvement in their personal independence, dramatically lowering the need for them to call for assistance for many of their daily activities.

Since the start of 2018, we’ve now installed over 60 VoQol systems in both residential care homes (including Turfhall Cheshire Home and Andries Olivier Durbanville Quadriplegic Centre), as well as in private homes. In October 2018, the VoQoL was awarded a prize in the prestigious SA Breweries Social Innovations Awards – Disability Category.

We’re now beta-testing a new app that will allow our VoQoL users to request almost any South African radio station and also, we’re working on an electronic device that will assist paraplegic individuals with limited or no speech and only limited hand fine motor control, to enable them to benefit from the system as well. With these additional software and hardware developments, the aim is to make these voice-activated functions available to as many mobility-impaired people as possible.

Through our pilot work, it became apparent to the care-home management that, not only will VoQoL system implementations assist each resident, but there is also a significant advantage for the carers. By giving greater independence to each person, the carers’ time is now freed-up so they can complete other tasks.

Next Steps…

Having proven that value of the VoQoL system, Coral Tech is now working with a number of care-homes to raise funds to install the system in as many rooms with each home as possible. For those wanting to contribute to the QuadPara Association’s fundraising efforts, you can go to https://www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/voqol-voice-activated-quality-of-life

NEW!! Coral Tech is now also able to install the VoQoL system in individual’s homes. For more information, contact voqol@coraltech.co.za

If you have a company that would like to donate funds for the project for care-homes, please contact one of the following organisations that are heading up the funds drive:

Coral Tech wants to thank those involved in our VoQoL pilot project. In particular, we want to mention Tulethu Magwa Stuurman, Anthony Ghillino, Barry Blomkamp for their wonderfully enthusiastic desire to test the system, and their great feedback, which helped us improve it. Also to Harry van Eck – Manager at Turfhall Cheshire Home for his great support and, last but not least, Rob Mousley, who gave up his time freely to help us film and edit the VoQoL video you see above.

If you have questions for Coral Tech about the VoQoL project, you can email us at voqol@coraltech.co.za or call: 082-450-8194