For Team USA Paralympic powerlifter Garrison Redd, some of the toughest challenges he faces are actually away from the crowds, when he’s at home. He’s lived in a wheelchair for two decades now, and as he explains in a blog post today he penned for Google, “When you’re paralyzed, your home goes from being a place of comfort and security to a reminder of what you’ve lost. Light switches and thermostats are usually too high up on the wall and, if my phone falls on the floor, I may not be able to call a friend or family member if I need help.”
This helps explain why Google says it hears regularly from people like Redd who rely on the company’s Home smart speakers to help them accomplish everyday tasks that so many of us take for granted. And it’s also why Google, in honor of the 29th anniversary Friday of the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act, decided to team up with the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation to give away 100,000 Google Home Minis to help people with disabilities lead more independent lives.
Anyone who’s interested can head to this link to find out if you’re eligible. The public can also help with this effort by instructing their Google Assistant: “Hey Google, donate to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.”
Redd, who aspires to win a gold medal at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and who also teaches workout routines on his YouTube channel, says the first thing he did when he got a Mini was connect it to his Nest Thermostat. Since he’s in training for the Olympics, he also uses his Mini to set alarms, manage his training schedule and listen to Spotify playlists to get pumped before a workout.
“Unfortunately, the world isn’t flat and there are still many obstacles for people living with paralysis,” he writes in his post. “I’m hopeful that Google Nest can help more people make their homes that much easier to navigate, just as it has for me.”