A new £6.1m residential building equipped with the latest technology is due to open at a college for students with disabilities.
The accommodation at National Star College will act as a “smart house” and includes voice-activated technology.
It will allow students to adapt artificial intelligence (AI) to suit their personal needs.
It will be opened later by disability campaigners Jack Thorne and Rachel Mason.
The college, based in Ullenwood, near Cheltenham, provides education and therapy for young people with a range of disabilities and it is hoped the technology will give them more independence and prepare them for life after college.
The single-storey ‘Building a Brighter Future’ building consists of 13 bedrooms, each installed with overhead tracking hoists and a range of AI features such as a voice-activated fridge.
“We’re trying to give the students the opportunity to explore this technology in a safe environment at college,” said Maizie Morgan, assistive technology technician at National Star College.
“The idea is that prospective and current students are able to use this technology, see what’s out there in the world, and eventually, hopefully implement it into their own rooms and then transition from college,” she added.
Principle, Simon Welch, said the technology had been personalised to help meet students’ individual needs.
“We understand, in terms of the young people and their disability, and what’s really the priority for them.
“The technology isn’t necessarily hugely innovative but the way in which we work with the individual is,” he added.
Student, Jasper Tomlinson, was given the opportunity to test out the software ahead of the opening.
He is non-verbal but is able to send commands to the smart devices by using his eyes to control his electronic communicator.
Devices and appliances in the rooms can then be controlled using a single action word.
“I think that it’s great because it helps me gain confidence for the time I leave college,” he said.
Peter Horne, National Star deputy chief executive, said: “This new accommodation will improve the lives of young people with complex physical and learning disabilities and create stimulating spaces to live, learn and relax in.”