Google has announced the names of five nonprofit groups that are receiving its first-ever Giving Through Glass grants to advance their work in their communities using Google Glass as a way to make their ideas happen.
The five winners—3.000 Miles to a Cure, Classroom Champions, The Hearing and Speech Agency, Mark Morris Dance Group and Women's Audio Mission—were selected from some 1,300 entries from across the United States in a competition that began in April, according to a July 9 post by Jacquelline Fuller, the director of Google.org, on the Google Official Blog.
Each of the groups is receiving one Google Glass device, a trip to a Google office for training, a $25,000 grant and help from Google developers to make their Glass project a reality, under the terms of the competition.
"We believe technology can help nonprofits make a difference more easily, and connect people to the causes they care about," wrote Fuller. "It's with this in mind that we launched Giving through Glass—a contest for U.S. nonprofits to share ideas for how Google Glass can support the impact they're having every day."
The projects being eyed by each of the groups are diverse. Classroom Champions will connect students in high-needs schools with Paralympic athletes as they train and compete, "helping kids build empathy and learn to see ability where others too often see only disability," wrote Fuller. At the Women's Audio Mission in San Francisco, instructors will use Glass in its music and media-based Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math training program for women and girls to create "a more immersive lab experience for students online and in person," wrote Fuller.
The Hearing and Speech Agency in Baltimore will use Glass "to pilot new ways to improve communication access for people who have speech language challenges, hearing loss and autism—and support those who teach and care for them," wrote Fuller, while the Mark Morris Dance Group in Brooklyn, N.Y., "will create a Glass app that will build on their award-winning Dance for PD initiative to help people with Parkinson's disease remember and trigger body movements in their daily lives."
The other winning entry, from 3,000 Miles to a Cure, will put a Glass device on a bicycle racer in a benefit to raise awareness and money for brain cancer research so that supporters can see the event with their own eyes, wrote Fuller. The ride across the United States using Glass will also allow the racer to be alerted to every message of encouragement and donation supporters send out, she wrote.
"Developers are already working with these inspiring groups, and next week these five nonprofits will descend on Google Glass' Base Camp in San Francisco for training, and to connect with their Google mentors," wrote Fuller.
The Giving Through Glass award program was unveiled in April as an offshoot of a program Google started in October 2013, when it began a Giving through Glass Explorer program to give a Glass device to five organizations, including the World Wildlife Foundation, to see how it could help them in their work, according to an eWEEK report. Under that early program, the WWF tested a Glass device it received in the tall grasslands of Nepal's Chitwan National Park, where the organization used them to help protect animals such as rhinos and Bengal tigers from poaching.
Glass is also being used in many other innovative ways around the world.
Emergency room doctors in a busy Boston hospital are using Glass to get patient information much faster, while also allowing doctors to focus more on their patients instead of on computers, according to a recent eWEEK report.
Meanwhile, researchers in England are using Glass with patients who have Parkinson's disease in early trial experiments aimed at finding new ways to help people affected by the illness. The work, which is being conducted at Newcastle University in England, is showing early promise in helping patients remember to take their medication and giving users more confidence as they fight the disease.