accessing digital media around the house

Access to digital media

In recent years our standards of living have been closely linked to availability, quantity and quality of digital media. My recent mini project has been concerned with enabling me to access digital media around the house independently and irrespective of location. the following gives the objectives:
I want to be able to listen or watch media from a number of bearers including YouTube, iPlayer, iTunes as well as other website and my local media.
I want to be able to access this from my bed, my wheelchair and anywhere else I happen to be in the house.
I want to also be able to access this media through a number of devices: laptop/voice recognition, wheelchair controls/mobile phone, bedside switch/environmental control.
I want to be able to use my mobile phone through my lap top and my wheelchair controls.

I have mostly achieved the objectives through the following solution:

I have a wheelable TV stand supporting my 38″ Tv, two laptop docking stations, a raspberry pi minicomputer, a chromecast HDMI dongle and a hi-fi system connected to the TV via a Bluetooth receiver and transmitter.

All the TV stand connections are integrated within the stand, the laptops+, chromecast, raspberry pi communicate with the Internet and the home network over Wi-Fi and the TV connects with the hi-fi and speakers over Bluetooth. There is one cable connected to the TV stand, a single 240 volt power cable.

The premise is that everything transmits media to the TV which in turn plays audio via Bluetooth over the hi-fi.

Any device capable of supporting a chrome browser can stream digital media directly to the TV via chromecast. Therefore from a laptop when I’m using voice recognition of from my phone when in my wheelchair using my head control/wheelchair mounted environmental control to scan through iPhone icons via the Perrero module. also works well with YouTube iPhone application.

I can control my media centre, displaying through the TV, hosted on my raspberry pi, £35, minicomputer from my wheelchair environmental control or the single switch environmental control next to my bed. Through this I can access a host of digital media from the Internet or my local media server. This also provides a airplay interface which allows any device supporting iTunes to stream digital media directly to the TV (any Apple devices), another option from my phone or laptop.

The TV stand can be wheeled around the house still transmitting audio through the hi-fi via Bluetooth, connected through Wi-Fi to the Internet and the home network.

This allows me to spend less time asking people to connect/reconnect devices and more time getting on with life…

road trip reflections

we are unfortunately on our way back to the UK from Strasbourg, the last stop on our trip which started in Troyes on Friday, France and then through Founex, near Geneva Switzerland to visit dad and family, watching Lucas play football competitively and gaining an assist for fantastic corner. we then travelled through the Mont Blanc tunnel towards Genoa (Liguria – Italy) and south to Levanto where we stayed for five nights.
Levanto is a picturesque town just north of the Cinque-terrre, it is large enough to support its own culture and year-round life, not just having to rely on tourism for sustenance. Known for fantastic food and wide variety of restaurants including my favourites: L ‘artichoka (cod cappuccino, Cacao pasta), Totano Blu (unimaginable seafood spaghetti), L’oasis (prawn sauce trofie) and graziella’s own original pesto (creamy with lots of garlic) not forgetting the ubiquitous sensational pizza.
we stayed at “A durmi” again, such a wonderful family offering unparalleled hospitality in a beautiful setting (thank you so much graziella & family).
Then on Wednesday, it was back across to the north-east of Italy, Conegliano – Veneto, the home of Prosecco to visit Angela’s (our lives have been enriched by her presence over the last year and a half) hometown. Again the hospitality was fantastic with the Maset family preparing delicious food and helping anyway they could.
Prosecco tasting was great fun in the “Vigne matte” cantina/winery. I like dry!
After enjoying some sightseeing of Castles and architecture, we travelled over the San Bernardino pass to stop over for lunch with the Leisingers in Malans, Switzerland. there we were treated to a tour of Peter’s new work (Peter is an artist, check out PeterLeisinger.com) which surrounds the house of Maria and Peter in a magical fashion.
We then drove to Strasbourg to stay the night, had a lovely walk around in the morning and now underway to Calais!