Robbie's Voice-Activated Room


ROBBIE IVEY: You come into my room,

you know my two favorite passions.

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


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


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.


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.


GOOGLE: Turning on TV.

ROBBIE IVEY: It was kind of, what

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


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.


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.