Google.org Awards Neil Squire Society $800,000 Grant to Create Smartphone Access Device for People Who Can Not Use Their Hands

BURNABY, British Columbia, April 12, 2016 – The Neil Squire Society (new window) has been awarded an $800,000 USD grant from Google.org (new window) through the Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities (new window).

The LipSync, a mouth controlled input device that can be used with computers, laptops, phones and other mobile devices.How would you use a touch screen mobile device, if you could not use your hands to touch the device? The support from Google.org will enable the Neil Squire Society to release the LipSync, a mouth controlled input device enabling people with disabilities to operate a mobile device.

An estimated 1,000,000 people in Canada and the United States have limited or no use of their arms—meaning they’re unable to use touchscreen devices that could provide access to helpful apps and services. While solutions exist for desktop computers, they can cost up to $3,000 and do not work well on mobile devices. The LipSync designs will be released open source so that makers can affordably make the solution so that anyone with difficulty using their hands can operate a mobile device using a mouth-operated input controller.

A young man in a wheelchair happy to have access to his mobile device through the LipSync.

“The support of Google.org will enable us to take our LipSync from prototype in our R&D department into the lives of people with disabilities,” says Dr. Gary Birch, Executive Director of the Neil Squire Society. “Mobile technology has changed the lives of everyone, but can be a new barrier to people that are unable to use their hands. The LipSync solves this problem, and our model of releasing it open source will ensure it is an affordable option that can be customized to the specific needs of people with disabilities worldwide.”

“The Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities set out to accelerate the use of technology to create meaningful change in the lives of the one billion people in the world with a disability,” says Brigette Hoyer Gosselink, Principal at Google. “We’re eager to watch as today’s winners, selected from over 1,000 submissions from around the world, build new solutions that will transform lives and make the world more accessible for all.”

Launched in May of 2015, the Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities put $20 million in Google.org grants behind nonprofits using emerging technologies to increase independence for people living with disabilities.

For more information on the LipSync Project, please visit the Neil Squire Society website, www.neilsquire.ca/lipsync.

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About Neil Squire Society

Neil Squire Society is the only not-for-profit organization in Canada that for over 30 years has used technology, knowledge and passion to empower Canadians with disabilities. The Society has developed innovative programs and services and some of the world’s leading edge assistive technology for people with disabilities. More than 35,000 people with disabilities in Canada have benefited from the work of the Society. With over seventy-five staff, Neil Squire Society has offices and provides services to Canadians in Vancouver, Regina, Ottawa, and Fredericton, as well as to many small communities across Canada via distance education.

About Google.org:

Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google, supports nonprofits that innovate to address humanitarian issues. Google.org was created to pursue, experiment with, and build upon ideas to improve the world, and continues to take an iterative approach to philanthropy today. Google.org develops and invests in pursuits that can have measurable impact on local, regional and global issues, and rallies Google’s people in support of these efforts with a singular goal of creating a better world, faster.

For further information, please contact:

Chad Leaman
604.473.9363
info@neilsquire.ca
www.neilsquire.ca/lipsync

Distribution of this press release was generously donated by Marketwired (new window).