Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, has announced $20M in funding spread across 30 non-profits that are developing technology to assist disabled people. The projects range from 3D-printed prosthetic limbs through smartglasses for the blind to a low-cost way to convert standard wheelchairs into powered ones.

We’re supporting forward-thinking nonprofits with big ideas that use technology to expand opportunity and independence for people with disabilities. As part of the Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities, we awarded 29 amazing grantees with $20 million in grants to help address accessibility challenges all over the world—and now, we’re helping them bring their projects to life … 

Wired reports that the average grant is $750k, but Google.org – or Dot-org, as Googlers call it – has given more than $1M to six of the programs. Google said that scalability was one of the factors used to choose which programs it would support.

We […] have scale in mind in funding these projects. We’re really looking for ways that these organizations can put this innovation out into the universe […]

We don’t expect ideas to reach millions of people in a year (if they could, definitely a plus), but applicants needed to be able to articulate a way in which their solution could ultimately reach a large number of people.

A Google video to promote the initiative notes that more than a billion people globally live with a disability, living in a world that’s often inaccessible to them. The full Wired piece is well worth reading.

Google last month created a tool to allow developers to check their Android apps for accessibility issues.

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