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Google awards $20m to disability charities

Melanie May | 15 April 2016 | News

Google has awarded $20m in grants to 29 charities globally through its Google Impact Challenge.
Google Global Impact Challenge: Disabilities focuses on building awareness, identifying solutions and helping create more access and opportunity for people with disabilities. The grants have been awarded to non-profits using emerging technologies to increase independence for people living with disabilities.
UK charities benefitting from grants include Motivation, the RNIB, and Wayfindr, The Royal London Society for Blind People’s  joint venture with ustwo.
Motivation is using its £573,737 by collaborating with Google to explore the use of 3D printing in mobility solutions for people with disabilities living in developing countries.
The 24-month project will develop and test a model for using 3D printing to create customised postural support devices, which will enable the charity to move towards a model where wheelchairs can be adapted and fitted to the unique needs of each user. An integral part of the project is the piloting of a ‘Print Pod’ overseas, which will act as a temporary wheelchair clinic, kitted out with a 3D printer and raw materials.
Motivation will also engage in outreach and advocacy efforts to encourage broader adoption of 3D printing within its network and elsewhere across the sector if successful.
Ian Harris, senior designer at Motivation, said:

“We believe that together we can really help wheelchair service providers in developing countries toward the goal of tailored postural support, reducing the risk of life threatening complications from poorly fitted chairs and dramatically increase mobility and independence.”



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