Smart assistants coupled with voice commands make for a truly powerful accessibility tool. To help showcase this assistive technology, Google Nest is donating 100,000 Home Mini speakers to those with paralysis and caregivers.

Over the past several years, voice interaction has not only become commercially ubiquitous, but also quite accurate at understanding. It’s a natural fit for the home, with development paralleling a similar proliferation of connected smart appliances.

To expose this technology to more people living with paralysis, Google is partnering with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation to donate 100,000 Home Minis. This effort coincides with the 29th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that prohibits discrimination based on disability and helps make public spaces more accessible.

The Google Home Mini makes life easier. From the time you wake up until going to bed, you can get things done with the power of your voice. Get the latest news, set reminders, find out the weather, and play your favorite music or audiobook. Plus a whole lot more.

The initiative has a website where those eligible — requirements below — can claim the usually $49 Google Assistant smart speaker for free. You can only apply for one, with this offer limited to the United States:

  • You are living with a physical disability, mobility challenge, or paralysis you are eligible for a free Google Home Mini
  • You are a caregiver and providing care to an individual living with a physical disability, mobility challenge, or paralysis you are eligible for a free Google Home Mini

A form then asks two questions: “How long have you or your loved one been living with paralysis” and “How would you define your mobility level.”

Google donating Home Mini

The site also links to Google-made how-to videos on setting up Assistant, Home, Chromecast, and other devices. Other up-and-coming efforts include Project Euphonia to understand the diverse speech patterns of those with impaired speech following strokes, ALS, or Parkinson’s, and Live Captions in Android Q.


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