smartApt2913You are supposed to be able to control everything, from the thermostat to a lift that will get you out of bed, put you on the john, with a blink of an eye, a sip or a puff, a press of a button or your voice. That’s what they’re aiming for at the newly opened Smart Apartment in the Helen Hayes Hospital in suburban West Haverstraw, N.Y.

Of course, it’s not that simple.

At the apartment’s press debut, Rosie, the efficient-sounding female voice that responds to all voice commands, balks. She’s not listening to the therapist who is hanging like a stalk of bananas from a ceiling hoist. For the moment, Rosie has decided not to let him move into the bathroom.

It reminds me of a favorite story about the nervous passenger on a plane that’s about to take off from New York to Los Angeles. As it begins to taxi, a voice announces, “Congratulations, you are on the first transcontinental flight without a pilot. Just sit back and relax. Nothing can go wrong, go wrong, go wrong …”

Eventually, Rosie comes to her senses and obeys the therapist, but I am having doubts about the so-called Smart Apartment, and wondering how the average crip will pay for all this whiz-bang technology. Besides, voice recognition often doesn