Google has announced it will be providing $20 million in Google.org grants for non-profit organizations utilizing emerging technology to increase independence of people living with disabilities. The initiative, “Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities” is designed to address the needs of the billion people with disabilities worldwide by seeking out nonprofits working to build awareness, identify solutions, and help create universal access for people with disabilities. The initiative addresses “What If’s” for the disabled community through innovation and practical solutions with the goal to increase the independence and improve the lives of people with disabilities. Project advisors include Temple Grandin, professor, author, and an autism activist; and Catalina Devandas Aguilar, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities.
Google.org is initially supporting two organizations that address prosthetics and auditory therapy:
The Enable Community Foundation connects people who want prosthetics with volunteers who use 3D printers to design, print, assemble, and fit them, for free. This dramatically cuts costs, increases speed of distribution, and meets unmet needs. They received a $600.000 grant to advance the design, distribution and delivery of an open-source 3D-printed upper-limb prosthetics.
World Wide Hearing provides access to affordable hearing aids to children and youth in developing countries—connecting people to the world through better hearing. They received a $500,000 grant to develop, prototype, and test an extremely low cost tool kit for hearing loss using smartphone technology that’s widely available—and affordable—in the developing world.
The Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities initiative is also asking individuals to share their “What If” scenarios to problem solvers with valuable insights to provide or produce solutions. Additionally, there is an “open call” for solutions from nonprofit organizations and public charities. Organizations can learn more about eligibility requirements and submit an idea through the website.
In addition to the most recent initiative, Google previously provided funding to the NIDILRR-funded Wireless RERC to develop real-world applications for Google Glass for people with disabilities.
Read the Google announcement at googleblog.blogspot.com/2015/05/google-impact-challenge-disabilities.html.