Google Offers $20 Million To Fund Tech To Fight Disabilities

Google, after changing web search and dominating the smartphone market, now wants to venture into an entirely new and unrelated field. Google’s charitable division Google.org will grant $20 million to non-profits for working on ideas that can help cure physical impairments among the world’s population.

Working on many initiatives

Initially, the search engine giant is granting $600,000 to the Enable Community Foundation, which creates 3-D printed prosthetics for children. The foundation will use the money to “systematically collect feedback and data from users and testers” to improve its existing technologies, and “organize global design challenges.”

The Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities program will seek out nonprofits and help them find new solutions to some serious ‘what-ifs’ for the disabled community,” the company said in a blog post.

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Google has also given a grant of $500,000 to the World Wide Hearing, an organization that works toward making hearing aids more accessible to people in the developing world. This money will be used for developing a smartphone-based kit for diagnosing and curing hearing loss. Even after giving financial aid to these two non-profit organizations, Google will be left with around $19 million to distribute among various new technologies.

Google to make life easier for people with disabilities

In its blog post, the internet giant writes that there is always a possibility of improving products. Google has a committed team to monitor the accessibility of Google Tools. Also the company offers engineering teams training to include accessibility principles in products and services. The principle is not only confined to improving existing Google tools; it also extends to the new ones.

Jacquelline Fuller, director of Google.org, said that previously people with certain disabilities had to depend on weighty, expensive and limited-purpose devices that could perform not more than one or two specific tasks, but now that is going to change.

Google has been doing a lot of charitable work in the past as well. In September, the company acquired a start-up called Lift Labs that invested in “Liftware” utensils and other eating and kitchen devices to enable people with tremors and Parkinsons to eat properly. Also Google’s accessibility engineering team launched a Chrome extension to enhance the online experience for people who are color-blind.