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I-STEM Hackathon

at IIIT-Bangalore, 17th to 19th January 2019


Team: eHealth Research Centre, Vision Aid, Vision Empower, XRCVC 


Need and Problem Addressed : 

Inclusive STEM Hackathon is a 24-hour hackathon where blind and visually impaired developers, industry professionals and engineering students come together to work on exciting and challenging problems. The aim of the hackathon is to sensitize the engineers from potential IT companies as also the wider company mindset on the functioning and efficiency of persons with blindness and low vision by working together on the project, while also allowing the participants with disabilities an opportunity to learn from experienced professionals.

Unlike several other hackathons, the hackathon does not strictly enforce working on accessibility-related projects. The final projects must be accessible for people with disabilities. This learning, in turn, can help companies evaluate their policies and improve them if needed.

Besides coding for 24 hrs, the hackathon is also a platform for blind participants to network with company representatives to share their interests, aspirations and challenges in the recruitment process or once at job. This learning can also help companies evaluate their policies and improve them if needed.

Execution : 

The event was divided into two tracks this year.

Regular Track: Consisted of teams of five composed of two blind developers with experience in computer science, two industry professionals and one sighted computer science student.

Mentorship Track: As an addition this year, this track consisted of teams of four composed of two blind developers relatively new to computer science, one corporate professional (as a mentor) and one sighted computer science student.

In addition to the 24 hour hackathon the event saw a host of pre-event workshops designed to give inputs to participants. Sighted Participants at the event had the opportunity to re-think their ideas on disability through a Disability 101 workshop and build their understanding on accessibility through the Technical Session on Accessibility.

The blind and low vision participants got the opportunity to network with senior mentors through Mentorship Circles and Career Opportunities session. A session on “Inclusion: Competitive Advantage for Start-ups and Mid Size companies”, and session by Social Alpha on their accelerator program on Access Technologies brought in the start-up eco-system discussion to the event. A panel discussion on Inclusion for Higher Education and Employment in STEM was also conducted.

Planning : 

Target Audience: Students from academic institutes, industry developers who are interested in coding for accessibility

Theme of the Hackathon: Empowering the Underrepresented

Participants: 16 teams, 7 academic institutes, 9 IT firms and over 34 visually impaired coders

This event also saw an academic roundtable on inclusion to discuss ideas on promoting inclusion for students with disabilities in higher education which saw participation from IIT-Delhi, IIT-Madras, IIIT-Bangalore, Ashoka University, St. Xavier’s College (Mumbai), IIM-Bangalore and IIT-Kanpur.

Sponsors : 

Oracle India, Mphasis and Dhun Pestonji Parakh Discretionary Trust

Social Impact : 

The hackathon showcased enormous talent where emerging minds created plenty of remarkable projects.


Congratulations to our winners!

Regular Track:

First prize: Bucky app (with text extraction from videos)
Second prize: The Coin Detector team
Third prize: Unifundster financial graph and charts accessibility app

Mentorship Track:

The mentorship track had a tie in the first position for the Hangman4E and the QuizzBuzz games both teams with the youngest participants at the Hackathon.