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Image credit: Nathan Ingraham / Engadget

Google will give 100,000 Home Minis to people with paralysis

The company has teamed up with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation for the program.
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Nathan Ingraham / Engadget

Smart speakers aren't just cool gadgets to play with for some differently abled people, such as those dealing with mobility issues or vision loss. For them, a smart speaker could be an important tool that can help them become more independent in their day-to-day lives. According to Google's Nest team, they receive a lot of emails from people with disabilities, telling them how the Home speakers are giving them more independence. That's why the tech giant has teamed up with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation to give away 100,000 Home Minis to people living with paralysis and their caregivers.

Google's blog has published a post written by Garrison Redd, a Team USA Paralympic powerlifter who's been navigating life in a wheelchair for the past 20 years. He said that while moving around in a world that doesn't cater to his needs is difficult -- the lack of wheelchair ramps is a common issue -- some of his greatest challenges are at home. Unless a house was made or renovated with a wheelchair-user in mind, for instance, light switches and thermostats would usually be too high up on the wall. And if their phone falls out of reach, they wouldn't be able to call for help when needed.

Redd said the Home Mini gives him a way to control his lights and thermostat easily, and it can make sure he can call family and friends if he needs help. The speaker's ability to set alarms, play music and trivia and make lists could be especially useful to people with quadriplegia, as well. Those interested can check out the official partnership page to find out if they're eligible and to sign up for a free Home Mini.

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