A Son, a Father, and a Computer - How I'm Using Tech to Ease the Suffering of my Dying Father
By Greg Svoboda

My father is dying. He has ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), of which there is no cure. Feeling powerless in the face of disease, I set out to do what I could: Build tech to ease his suffering, to help him feel more connected with his loved ones, and to share what I'm building for free. This is my story.

Sunday 2:15 p.m.–2:45 p.m. in Cartoon 1


Using Python, I built:

  • An Emergency notification system that texts family members.
  • A "help button" where a mother who never asks for help can simply push it, and her closest friends will get a reminder to call and encourage her.
  • A python-powered, Voice-activated IR system to turn on music, tv, and more. Engaged with custom wake words, and powered by a Raspberry Pi.
  • A music player that will allow my dad to listen to his favorite music when he's feeling down, without having to push a single button.

Greg Svoboda

Greg is a Python developer at OnShift, and is humbled work with the greatest team ever. Born-and-raised in Cleveland, his former life included titles like 'professional juggler', 'ordained minister', 'turntable dj', and 'bartender'. Now he uses Python at OnShift and MicroPython to automate his family's backyard chicken coop. Read more about Greg at GregSvoboda.com GregSvoboda.com, and his computerized chicken coop at cooputer.com. Get it? Coop-puter? At least his wife found it funny.