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How Google is Helping Amputees get 3D-printed Prosthetics

2 minute read

When it’s not busy building self-driving cars or sci-fi glasses, Google sometimes does a little good like pledging a $600,000 grant to the Enable Community foundation to provide free prosthetics to those who need them.

The grant is part of a new initiative, Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities, that the tech giant announced Tuesday. Google said it will donate $20 million from its non-profit arm, Google.org, to “nonprofits using emerging technologies to increase independence for people living with disabilities,” according to a blog post.

Enable Community, one of the two initial recipients of grants, connects volunteers who use 3D printing to create and customize prosthetic limbs for those who need them.

Google also announced a $500,000 grant for World Wide Hearing, an organization that will test and develop a low-cost kit for diagnosing hearing loss and fitting hearing aids. The kit will rely on smartphones to make the help affordable and accessible to people in developing countries.

Google’s research and development division, Google X, has already delved into how technology can help improves the lives of people with disabilities. For example, it acquired Lift Labs last year, which has created a spoon that automatically adjusts for shaking by people with Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative tremors. The spoon’s mechanism vibrates to counter the user’s tremors and enable them to eat more easily.

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