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Benetech's purpose is to use the high technology model to address pressing social problems. Many innovative technologies can easily be applied to social needs, but the profitability of such efforts rarely meets the financial expectations of high technology investors. Benetech identifies and develops projects that emphasize a strong social, rather than financial, rate of return on investment. Benetech brings the power of technology to social needs in the areas of disability, bridging the digital divide, education, literacy, human rights, employment of the disadvantaged, and the prevention of suffering.
A quick sampling of projects currently underway illustrates the power and promise of Benetech:
Bookshare.org is an Internet-based, book-sharing community for people with disabilities that also meets the stringent copyright law exemption for providing accessible electronic books. Bookshare has already attracted the participation of major stakeholders in the disability and publishing fields and has the potential to become the world's largest electronic book collection within its first three years of operation.
The Martus Human Rights Bulletin System provides critical tools that will enable human rights workers worldwide to both confidentially document abuses and disseminate violation information, preventing future mistreatment and/or ensuring that those responsible are held accountable. We anticipate future applications in other social justice fields such as women's rights, and gay and lesbian rights.
The Landmine Detector Project will adapt cutting edge technologies to the needs of humanitarian landmine removal. This project will significantly reduce the current projected 1000-year time frame for clearing the world's villages and farmlands of this devastating hazard.
ALL-Link is an Internet service providing best practices reading and writing instruction and high interest, low level content that will transform literacy instruction for students with significant disabilities.
Sonorus is a prototype research project demonstrating how wireless handheld access devices can serve as accessible interrfaces to services and applicances for people with disabilities.