Devices Offering Great Solutions (DOGS)

Environmental Controls


Control the temperature, lighting, and other things in your home.


About Environmental Controls 


We adjust many features of our home or work space to fit our needs throughout the day. You might want to open the blinds, turn on a light, or shut off a fan. These devices don’t always come with buttons that are easy to access. Adaptive environmental control products can give you more independence.

Environmental control units use different types of technology – such as infrared light, radio waves or “z-waves,” or wifi – to send the signals that make your devices work. These products are often called Electronic Aids for Daily Living, or EADLs.

How can I control my environment?

Integrated Systems

Using a central hub can make the process of controlling your environment faster and easier. This might be a smart home hub or it might be an adaptive environmental control unit.

Smart Home Hubs

Devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home are becoming popular ways to control your living space. There are hundreds of compatible accessories, so you can create a network of smart things. Lightbulbs, security cameras, thermostats, door locks, blinds, and more can be connected to your hub and controlled by voice or through an app. To learn more, visit the smart home hubs page.

Adaptive Environmental Control Units

These hubs are designed with disabled people in mind. They may accommodate a variety of input methods such as touch, voice control, switch scanning, and eye gaze. Examples include the MEDIAssistantautnoME, and REACH. Many products, such as HouseMate, are also starting to take advantage of the fact that our smartphones and tablets can now interface with multiple access methods. You can buy the HouseMate transmitter and control your devices from an app.

Stand-Alone Solutions

The items below usually work straight out of the box; you do not need to connect them with an app or pair them with a smart home hub.

Outlet Remotes

Outlet adaptors from companies like Dewenwils come with their own remote. It will turn on or off whatever device you have plugged into it. This can be useful for items like fans or lamps.


Hardwired switches and radio-remote solutions are available to automatically open your door, without an app. See examples from companies like Open Sesame.


How can I find out what’s new?

Technology changes all the time. To find out about the latest options for these, you can type keywords into a search engine such as Google, Safari, Firefox, or Bing on a computer or tablet. These are the keywords for this type of item:


environmental control units, dimmer switch adaptor, residential automatic doors, talking thermostats, smart home systems


How do I find out more?

If you live in the US outside of Pennsylvania, you can find your state’s AT program.

If you live in Pennsylvania:

  • you could contact TechOWL to work with a specialist. We can meet with you and sometimes demonstrate this equipment. We can also help with different ways to get one for your own.
  • you might borrow this equipment to try out.

Are these in Pennsylvania’s AT Lending Library?