Google Grant to Create Smartphone Access Device for People Who Can Not Use Their Hands

Americas, May 10 2016

BURNABY, BC:  The Neil Squire Society has been awarded an $800,000 USD grant from Google.org through the Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities.

How would you use a touch screen mobile device, if you could not use your hands to touch the device? The support from Google.org will enable the Neil Squire Society to release the LipSync, a mouth controlled input device enabling people with disabilities to operate a mobile device.

Milad smiling with LipSyncAn estimated 1,000,000 people in Canada and the US have limited or no use of their arms – meaning they’re unable to use touchscreen devices that could provide access to helpful apps and services. While solutions exist for desktop computers, they can cost up to $3,000 and do not work well on mobile devices. The LipSync designs will be released open source so that makers can affordably make the solution so that anyone with difficulty using their hands can operate a mobile device using a mouth-operated input controller.

“The support of Google.org will enable us to take our LipSync from prototype in our R&D department into the lives of people with disabilities,” says Dr. Gary Birch, Executive Director of the Neil Squire Society. “Mobile technology has changed the lives of everyone, but can be a new barrier to people that are unable to use their hands. The LipSync solves this problem, and our model of releasing it open source will ensure it is an affordable option that can be customized to the specific needs of people with disabilities worldwide.”

“The Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities set out to accelerate the use of technology to create meaningful change in the lives of the one billion people in the world with a disability,” says Brigette Hoyer Gosselink, Principal at Google. “We’re eager to watch as today’s winners, selected from over 1,000 submissions from around the world, build new solutions that will transform lives and make the world more accessible for all.”

Launched in May of 2015, the Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities put $20 million in Google.org grants behind nonprofits using emerging technologies to increase independence for people living with disabilities.

For more information on the LipSync Project, visit the Neil Squire Society website, www.neilsquire.ca/lipsync

Share this post: