SimplyHome Product Designer, Michael Doornbos, Featured in Wired For His Space Exploration Project

FireFly Controller Board Simplifies Rocket Science

Categories: Electronic GeekProjects and ActivitiesScience and Education,Toys and Technology

Recently, my friend Mike Doornbos from Evadot got together with the small-satellite crew down at the non-profit Kentucky Space to try to fix an annoying problem. (Yes, people really do get together to solve annoying problems with their satellites!) They wanted a standard “mission command” board that could serve as the basis for the brains, power and voice for different space applications without having to make it from scratch every time. They liked their solution so much, they decided to share!

“We’re making the FireFly controller boards because it seems like a lot of projects repeat the same ten steps just to get started. If you’re going to launch a high altitude balloon with a camera on it (to take pictures of the curvature of the earth), build some remote sensing equipment, teach a class, or even launch a satellite you need the same basic components,” says Mike Doornbos. “This system gets you right to ‘step 10′ in your project. Steps 1 through 9 are already done! The FireFly is designed to provide everything you need to get started including:

  • A small computer with an easy to use programming interface (emphasis on easy).
  • Battery power with charging circuits.
  • Long range communications.
  • The ability to use existing add on hardware.
  • Some software you can borrow, reuse, and share.
  • A place to talk about what your building to get help.”              

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AARP Features SimplyHome-How to Help an Aging Parent

How to Help an Aging Parent

Use this guide to assess when a loved one needs a caregiver and what options are available

by: Tina Adler | from: AARP The Magazine | June 13, 2012

How to Know When It’s Time

Sometimes an elder’s need for help is sudden and obvious. More often, though, it becomes apparent gradually, experts say. So how will you know? Watch for changes in your loved one’s behavior, such as ignoring favorite hobbies, missing dates with friends, or forgetting to pay bills. Not every change means danger, but when a shift happens, it’s important to understand why, says Claudia Fine, an executive at SeniorBridge, a geriatric-care management company. So snoop, Fine advises. Tag along to your loved one’s doctors’ appointments and ask questions.

See also: Does your loved one need a caregiver? Use this checklist.

Once you understand the person’s situation, you can help develop plans, says Peter Notarstefano, director of home- and community-based services at LeadingAge, an association for aging-services organizations. Although you may not see yourself as a “caregiver,” that’s the term for anyone who looks after a person who needs assistance with daily tasks. AARP’s Caregiving Resource Center can help.

Staying at Home

Keeping a loved one in his or her house, or yours, can be challenging if your loved one needs daily help with some tasks. Thankfully, there are services to make it easier.

Adult day facilities offer meals, activities, companionship and some medical care. One popular program for frail people is the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). It’s free for those who qualify for Medicaid; others pay about $3,000 a month.

Service programs such as Senior Corps send volunteers age 55 or older to visit elderly individuals at home and provide companionship.

Occupational therapists can evaluate a home and its resident and recommend grab bars and other changes to improve safety. They also help clients develop strength and skills, such as balance, so they can manage more of their daily activities. Studies show that visits from an OT help older people stay in their homes longer.

If you and your family member want to live near each other but not in the same house, you can now rent a fully equipped, backyard mini-apartment that attaches to your home’s utilities. Some of these so-called assisted living structures come with monitoring systems.

Assistive-technology companies have products that can ensure your relative is safe. SimplyHome offers monitoring equipment such as motion sensors and GPS watches, and QuietCare (careinnovations.com) has a motion-sensor system that can learn a person’s daily patterns and send alerts when there is a significant change.

In some areas nonprofit support networks called Villages help older residents stay in their homes. Volunteers perform some everyday tasks, and the Villages also arrange for discounted services, from plumbing to nursing care. Annual membership fees are usually $300 to $500. See whether there’s a Village near you.

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