Google.org has announced that it will award $20 million to nonprofit organizations using emerging technologies to increase the independence of people living with disabilities.
With the goal of building awareness, identifying solutions, and helping create universal access for people with disabilities, Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities has issued an open call to nonprofits around the globe to submit ideas with the potential to transform the lives of people with disabilities.
As part of the effort, Google.org announced two grants to nonprofits working to reduce the cost of and access to prosthetic limbs and auditory therapy. The Enable Community Foundation, which connects people who need prosthetics with volunteers who design and provide 3D-printed prosthetics for free — a group it calls the e-NABLE community — was awarded a grant of $600,000 to advance the design, distribution, and delivery of open-source 3D-printed upper-limb prosthetics. In addition, World Wide Hearing will receive $500,000 to develop, prototype, and test an extremely low-cost tool kit for hearing loss using smartphone technology that is widely available and affordable in the developing world.
"We think the e-NABLE community's products and practices are a potential model for other ventures that can inspire digital humanitarians to use emerging technologies to develop innovative solutions for underserved populations," said Enable Community Foundation president Jon Schull, a research scientist at Rochester Institute of Technology. "Google.org has challenged us to test that idea and given us the resources to do it, even as we continue to serve volunteers and recipients."