The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation announced July 26 that they would be partnering with Google to give 100,000 Google Home Mini smart speakers to paralyzed individuals and caregivers. The announcement came in conjunction with the 29th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The Reeve Foundation and Google are promoting voice-activated technology as a means of enabling greater independence within the home. “We live in a world where technology has unlocked unforeseen possibilities for individuals living with paralysis. However, even the best ideas can gather dust unless the right partners — community and industry — work together to bring them to life,” said Rebecca Laming, the Reeve Foundation’s vice president of marketing and communications.
The Google Home Mini lets you make phone calls, surf the web, set appointments, and access your calendar and email, using only your voice. In addition, it can be combined with other Google Nest products to provide voice control for thermostats, light switches, televisions, video security systems and even the deadbolt on your front door. “As a woman living with a disability, I never felt comfortable answering my door or letting someone into my house,” said Chanda Hinton, a quadriplegic and power chair user who served as a pilot-tester for the program. “Google allows me to see who is at my front door so I can feel more secure and confident living on my own. When you are paralyzed, your most powerful tool is your voice.”
The speakers are available first-come, first-served, and the offer runs until August 13. To certify your eligibility and claim your own Home Mini, go to Googlenest.reevefoundation.org.
Recipients are encouraged to share their experience with the product on social media using the hashtag #PowerOfVoice. According to the Reeve Foundation: “Through user-generated content, Google Nest and the Reeve Foundation hope to ignite an industry-wide conversation that inspires tech companies to address the most pressing needs of the broader disability population.”