Google Summer of Code Veteran Org: Benetech

Friday, October 25, 2013

For our sixth guest post from veteran Google Summer of Code organizations the organization administrator from Benetech discusses his organization’s student projects below.

Benetech was founded to be a different kind of tech company—a nonprofit—with a pure focus on developing technology for social good. “Open Over Proprietary” is one of our Seven Benetech Truths, so we’re delighted to join Google Summer of Code in inspiring young developers.

In our second consecutive Google Summer of Code, our three students worked to enhance the tools and capabilities we provide as part of our Bookshare initiative. Bookshare is the world’s largest accessible online library for people with print disabilities and part of a broader effort to promote the development of accessibility standards and technology through Benetech’s Global Literacy Program.

We’ve been working with three amazing students on the following projects:

Integrate MathML support in Go Read – Student: Jordan Gould, Code
Go Read is our free, Android-based eBook reader that people with visual impairments can use to read Bookshare content. This integration will allow us to deliver better STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) educational content to our Bookshare users on a variety of Android smartphones and tablets.

Integrate Tecla Accessibility Support for Go Read – Student: Anuruddha Hettiarachchi Code 
Making Go Read Tecla-accessible will improve its usability for people who cannot read standard eBooks due to mobility impairments.

Extend Bookshare API – Student: Yashasvi Gridhar, Code
This enhancement will support the download of books with images, which, for example, are important to users who are dyslexic or have a motor related disability.

Our students’ efforts will create a lasting impact for the multitudes of people with print disabilities using Bookshare to access the books they need for education, employment and inclusion in society. And it’s not just our users who are positively impacted. We’ve learned that our students also gain a great deal from their summer’s work. Yashasvi, for example, told us:
“All the knowledge and skillset that I have learned will certainly help me in my career ahead. Working with a nonprofit organization like Benetech, you have that awesome feeling of being part of something big that is helping people across the globe. I sincerely hope to continue the same in the future.”  -- Yashasvi Gridhar
Thank you, Google Summer of Code, and best wishes to our three students!

By Gerardo Capiel, Benetech Vice President of Engineering