After 24 hours of non-stop problem-solving, collaboration and software development, Perkins School for the Blind crowned the winners of its first-ever hackathon on Saturday. The grand prize winning design, a tactile lever device that allows coders with visual impairment to feel what their data trends look like, was one of 22 entries from college students across the United States and Canada who gathered at Perkins’ campus to develop innovative tech-based solutions to problems facing the visually impaired community in work, education and daily life.
Throughout the event, more than 100 students worked in teams to solve one of six challenges inspired by the real-life experiences of blind individuals. A panel of expert judges scored the resulting designs.
Other prize-winning designs included accessible apps like SonifEye, which allows coders with visual impairment to hear changes in data; Seats, which helps students locate empty seats in a cafeteria; Ezform, which allows individuals who are blind to fill out paper forms electronically; OvenBot, which helps users locate buttons on a digital display; B-Fit, which connect people with visual impairment with “spotters” at the gym; and iSee, which provides information on dining hall menus and allows users to connect with friends.