Google Helping People With Disabilities Access Internet - NBC Southern California

Google Helping People With Disabilities Access Internet

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    Google Helping People With Disabilities Access Internet

    The ability to use a smart phone is something most of us probably take for granted. Scott Budman reports.

    (Published Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019)

    The ability to use a smart phone is something most of us probably take for granted.

    But for people who couldn't use one, a Silicon Valley tech giant is coming to the rescue. Google is now helping people with disabilities access the Internet.

    "Googlers are volunteering their time to build devices for people with disabilities," said Chad Leaman, Neil Squire Society.

    The company on Thursday hosted what it calls the "Buildathon" at its headquarters, and you could say they're building a new way to search.

    Launched by an $800,000 Google grant, techies are working with the Neil Squire Society, which aims to bring economic and social equality to people with disabilities.

    The result? They call it lip sync.

    "The lip sync is a mouth-operated mouse for someone with a disability that can't use their hands," Leaman said.

    So people can -- for the first time -- operate a computer, tablet and even a smartphone by using their mouths to navigate around. The device itself uses common electronics, a little 3D printing and costs Google about $200 each.

    "A device like lip sync can help users do what other people can do with their devices -- browse the Internet, maybe watch cat photos, send an e-mail, apply for a job, pay their bills," said Olga Prelipova with Google.

    In other words, join the mobile revolution. With a piece of technology Google says it will give away to patients, for free.

    "It's very rare we get to build something in a day and see how it impacts their life," Prelipova said.

    Google said the first batch of 10 lip syncs it made will be donated to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. The company is also posting the assembly instructions online so others can make them too.