Boy with Muscular Dystrophy gets voice-activated room

IRON RIVER, Mich. (WLUC) -- An 18-year-old boy who suffers from Muscular Dystrophy is regaining independence after a retired Microsoft employee made elements of his room voice-activated.

Robbie Ivey of Iron River, Michigan is a die hard Green Bay Packers fan. One step in his room, and a giant Clay Matthews greets you in his doorway. For most teenagers, a room is a space all to themselves, but for Ivey, his bedroom had many limitations.

"I had to rely on my mom and her boyfriend to help me change the channels and volume and to watch Netflix," said Ivey. "It became a big hassle."

At age five, Ivey was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy and slowly lost movement in is whole body except for his finger, limiting him to his chair for the past six years.

"Once in a while, there is a new challenge to fight through but in more ways than one, we find a way to accomplish everything," said Ivey.

And that’s exactly what Robbie’s mother, Carrie Ivey, did.

For years, Carrie would have to wake up in the middle of the night to adjust Robbie’s bed if his remote stopped working. Determined to find a bed that was voice-activated, she took to the Muscular Dystrophy Association for a solution.

"She asked if I knew anybody that could do that and having 40 years of technology background, I kind of thought, maybe," said Bill Weis.

Bill Weis, a retired Microsoft employee, sat down with Carrie and Robbie to gain a better understanding of their limited lifestyle and realized a voice-activated bed would be scratching the surface.

"It gave us a sense with why stop with the bed because the same technology that you use to control his bed, whether it be the Google or Amazon device, could also control his TV, his fan, control his lights," said Weis.

Robbie’s new room makes family members more comfortable with leaving Robbie home by himself, especially now he can make calls using the voice-activated speakers.

Now with a voice-activated room created by Weis, Carrie has more time to herself and Robbie can have a freedom any 18-year-old boy deserves.

"It makes it so she doesn’t have to do everything for me and I’m able to basically live independently," said Ivey.

Robbie will be honored at the Upper Peninsula's first Muscular Dystrophy Gala in late September.

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