Google's Home Mini already provides convenience to able-bodied users, but its usefulness for people with disabilities cannot be overstated. To make the smart speaker available to more people with mobility limitations, in particular, Google Nest is donating 100,000 units in partnership with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, a non-profit providing support for individuals living with paralysis.
In a blog post announcing the philanthropic initiative, Garrison Redd, Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Ambassador, detailed how he broke away from his dependence on his wheelchair for two decades with the help of the Home Mini. Those limitations formed the foundation for Google Nest's work with the organization in an effort to explore the benefits technology can provide to people with mobility issues.
Redd, himself a Team USA Paralympic athlete, wrote:
"29 years ago today, the Americans with Disabilities Act passed landmark legislation making public spaces more accessible for everyone. Unfortunately, the world isn’t flat and there are still many obstacles for people living with paralysis. I'm hopeful that Google Nest can help more people make their homes that much easier to navigate, just as it has for me."
A dedicated website was also set up for eligible individuals to avail of the free smart speakers. Currently, free units are available only to U.S. residents with paralysis and their caregivers. Nonetheless, this act speaks volumes about how far technology can go in terms of helping individuals with disabilities.