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Themes: Assistive & Accessible Technology

GDI Hub supports the Accessible cities Hackathon in Egypt

Group picture of judges, organisers and hackathon participants smiling and holding giant cheques with prizes.
Image courtesy of the National Academy of Information Technology for Persons with Disabilities.

Dr Tim Adlam and Ben Oldfrey were in Cairo the 12th to 14th February 2020 to support the Accessible Cities Hackathon on behalf of the Global Disability Innovation Hub (GDI Hub). The Hackathon is a collaboration between the National Academy of Information Technology for Persons with Disabilities (NAID) and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), Microsoft, and the British Council.

The event was led by Dr Abeer Shakweer, Dr Fady Ismaeel from MCIT and Ahmed Fouad from the British Council in Egypt.

During the intense three days of the Hackathon teams worked on developing new designs and business propositions to solve problems experienced by disabled people in the following challenges:

  1. Enable people with visual impairment to use smart cards, so they can easily and quickly check the balances of accounts and charge cards for use in electricity meters and ticket machines, for example.
  2. Assist disabled people to navigate public spaces and transport infrastructure using proximity and crowdsourcing technology, and alert transport workers to their presence so that they can be assisted in a timely way.
  3. Create Arabic language smart home devices and appliances using AI and voice recognition technology.
  4. Tools to help with some of the difficulties faced by disabled people in daily life, such as writing, holding a phone, carrying objects, or using screws. Participants are being encouraged to create high-quality prototypes using the 3D printing and digital fabrication facilities available at the Academy.

During the Hackathon Tim and Ben were part of the mentors that shared their expertise in product design, AI, user experience design (UX), engineering and inclusive design.

On the last day, teams presented their ideas, including how they will be delivered to customers; and were judged by Tim and the expert team on their proposals’ innovation, team strength, sustainability and business viability. Awards were granted to the winning teams.