Robbie's Voice-Activated Room

26

ROBBIE IVEY: You come into my room,

you know my two favorite passions.

It's a place where I can just be me.

[GUNFIRE ON TV]

Look behind you.

Nobody else can judge what I do, or anything.

And it's a great place to be.

BILL WEIS: The first day I was at Robbie's house,

it was very evident that Robbie's bedroom

ROBBIE: I was diagnosed at the age of five

with duchenne muscular dystrophy, which

eats away at my muscles cells.

CARRIE IVEY: The dystrophin protein

is not made in the muscle.

So the muscle tends to waste away.

At age 8, he started to slow down.

12, he was in a wheelchair.

At 19, he's got very limited use of hands.

SPEAKER 1: Ah, that's crooked.

CARRIE IVEY: But, you know, he's got the same thought

process every other 19-year-old boy has.

Cars, girls, video games.

ROBBIE IVEY: My mom is like my main advocate.

She's just there for me.

Helps me do basically every function I need to do.

CARRIE IVEY: Want a drink?

ROBBIE IVEY: And almost everything

was hard to do without calling for assistance.

Before Bill came along.

Bill's our tech genius.

CARRIE IVEY: I met Bill through the muscular dystrophy

association.

He asked if we needed anything.

And I said, well, if you happen to know

anybody that knows anything about voice activation,

be phenomenal.

BILL WEIS: Hey, Google.

Turn on feet.

GOOGLE: OK.

Turning on the feet.

CARRIE IVEY: A couple days later, I had a phone call.

BILL WEIS: Carrie mentioned right off

that Robbie's bed is something he can no longer control.

He would have to holler to Carrie

to make a small, incremental change in the bed

so he was no longer sore.

CARRIE IVEY: I was up every hour, hour and a half.

I was getting no sleep.

Robbie was getting no sleep.

BILL WEIS: And so I saw how coming up

with a solution for Robbie bed would

have an impact on both of them.

ROBBIE IVEY: He had to do a lot of research

to figure out how to make this work.

BILL WEIS: Hey, Google.

Turn on head.

GOOGLE: You got it.

Turning on the head.

CARRIE IVEY: And from there, little by little,

he kept adding, and adding, and adding.

ROBBIE IVEY: Hey, Google.

Turn on TV.

[DING]

GOOGLE: Turning on TV.

ROBBIE IVEY: It was kind of, what

does my imagination allow me to want to have voice activated?

CARRIE IVEY: (ON PHONE) Yes, Roberto?

ROBBIE IVEY: I am able to do stuff on my own.

And at let's me give my mom a break a little bit.

CARRIE IVEY: I expected not to get any sleep

for the rest of my life.

And here, you know, I can get out and take a walk.

Sometimes I need that hour, hour and a half of sanity

SPEAKER 1: Also these.

He has no choice.

I bought them for him.

ROBBIE IVEY: So is that all the shirts I'm taking?

BILL WEIS: Voice activation opened up a whole new world

that I don't think many people really can understand yet.

Robbie's got a lot more freedom than he had before.

ROBBIE IVEY: Most people think that just because you're

in the chair, everything's disabled.

But my main attribute's my mind.

CARRIE IVEY: I've always had the hopes

that he would go to college.

He's an honor student.

He's incredibly smart.

BILL WEIS: He applied for four or five colleges,

and has acceptance letters from every one he applied to.

ROBBIE IVEY: After 19 years, it's kind of about time

BILL WEIS: Robbie's bedroom back home helped

Robbie gain independence.

We've tried to replicate that same environment

here at the dorm.

ROBBIE IVEY: Hey, Google.

Turn on the head.

GOOGLE: You got it.

Turning on the head.

BILL WEIS: He's in an environment that's all new.

And I think to know that he hasn't

lost all of that capability that he gained

will be comforting to him.

[DING]

But beyond that, he'll be challenged in ways

that hasn't anticipated yet.

CARRIE IVEY: He has a drive.

He wants to succeed.

He wants to be something.

And as long as he pushes, that's what he's going to get.

I'm excited for this new chapter.

And I feel like everything's in front of me.

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