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    Wheelchairs Now — charitable arm of Google

    Google.org Awarded $20 Million to Better the World for the Disabled

    Google.org recenlty awarded 29 nonprofits to build transformative technologies for the disabled.  Google.org is the philanthropy division of Google that has just set out to help the 15% of the world's population with disabilities. That's 1 out of every 7 people, and 50% of the disabled people can't afford healthcare. 

    Here is the list of the 29 nonprofits and a little information about what they do:

     e-Nable is a global community of volunteers that designs and creates 3D printed prosthetics.

    • World Wide Hearing is developing an inexpensive tool for health workers anywhere to screen for hearing loss.

    • Mission Arm | exiii are working together to make affordable prosthetics accessible for everyone.

    • Royal National Institute for Blind People | Smart Glasses is developing smart glasses to help people with sight loss regain their independence and confidence.

    • J’accede is building a community of advocates to map accessible locations around the world using a mobile app.

    • Wheelmap is creating a global dataset of accessible locations for people with disabilities.

    • My Human Kit is launching an online platform to connect people in need of prosthetics to low-cost, open-source 3D printed models.

    • The Arc is building a search and recommendation tool to help people with cognitive disabilities find the right technology to reach their goals.

    • Motivation is testing customizable postural support designs to provide better fitting wheelchairs to users around the world.

    • Royal London Society for Blind People / Wayfindr is developing technology that delivers audio-based directions to users’ smartphones, providing a more independent lifestyle to the visually impaired.

    • The Center for Discovery is developing an open-source power add on to quickly convert any manual wheelchair into a power chair.

    • UCP Wheels for Humanity is collecting data on wheelchair usage in developing countries to ensure everyone has access to the chair that best suits their needs.

    • Ezer Mizion | Click2Speak are piloting an onscreen keyboard to help people with low mobility and high cognitive function better communicate.

    • DAISY Consortium is developing a suite of industry-standard accessibility tools for publishers to ensure that every book is accessible to people with disabilities when printed.

     Benetech is scaling access to their library and content conversion process to make more books accessible to the visually impaired.

    • Dan Marino Foundation is developing software that uses interactive avatars to help young people with autism train for job interviews.

    • Miraclefeet is augmenting clubfoot treatment by providing monitoring, engagement, and training software to keep providers and patients on track.

    • Perkins School for the Blind is using crowdsourced data from sighted individuals to develop technology that helps the visually impaired to navigate the gap between GPS and the real world.

     Inclusion without Borders | Livox’s nonprofit arm is helping people with limited speech ability participate in conversation more fully by making assistive communication technology more intuitive and responsive.

    • Beit Issie Shapiro | TOM are creating a template for “Makeathon-in-a-box,” which connects makers with people with disabilities to develop new accessibility solutions.

    • Neil Squire Society is developing a mouth-operated controller that will allow individuals with limited use of their arms to interact with a mobile device.

     TDI is developing software to make live captioning services more affordable and more available for the deaf and hard of hearing.

    • ProPortion is developing and distributing a device that quickly and easily produces high-quality prosthetic sockets in developing countries.

    • Leprosy Mission Trust India is producing 3D-printed custom footwear that allows people with leprosy to maintain the ability to walk.

    • Ratna Nidhi Charitable Trust is working to bring comfortable, easy-to-produce prosthetic sockets to rural areas of India using 3D scanning and printing.

    • Nia Technologies is training prosthetic technicians to use 3D scanning and printing to produce prosthetic sockets more quickly.

     APAE Brasil is developing an SMS messaging system to support families who have children with developmental disabilities.

    • Beit Issie Shapiro | Sesame are partnering to pilot a solution that allows people with limited mobility to operate smartphones by moving their head.

    • Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled | University of Washington are creating a platform that tracks data about the supply and distribution of assistive technologies in Sub-Saharan Africa to expose gaps in availability and spur further adoption.

    The programs fall into one of five categories of disabilities. They are mobility, education, communication, independence, and employment.  The average amount they'll each receive is $750,000, with six of the grant winners getting more than $1 million.  $20 million dollars is probably a drop in the bucket for Google, but it's not always the amount you spend, its how you spend it.  We hope that all these projects succeed and make the lives of people in need a little better.