Companies working to create technology to make life easier for people with disabilities are getting a leg up through a series of new federal grants.

The U.S. Department of Education is awarding 16 grants worth $75,000 each to 11 small businesses. Recipients of the grants include companies designing a foot-operated computer mouse, a personal scheduling system and a special Facebook interface specifically for those who have intellectual disability.

“These projects are designed to help people with disabilities maximize their job productivity and economic self-sufficiency,” said Alexa Posny, assistant secretary for special education and rehabilitative services at the Education Department. “This is the first step of research and development in several areas that will enhance independent living and employment for individuals with disabilities.”

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The grants are part of a two-step offering. If after six months the projects are still considered worthy, businesses can receive up to an additional $500,000 to continue work for another two years, federal education officials said.