CATCH researcher Aejaz Zahid is leading an innovative new project that aims to bring together the most talented and creative students from across the University to help change people’s lives.

Hackcessible 2018 is a make-a-thon that will give engineers, designers, computer scientists, students and others a unique opportunity to collaborate with individuals with disabilities and create workable products that support their needs. Inspired by the AT-Hack at MIT, one of the first disability-related hackathons, and the popular BBC program The Big Life Fix, it will be the University of Sheffield’s first disability-focused make-a-thon.

Aejaz, an assistive technology expert in CATCH and former MIT-Sloan fellow, explained the idea behind the challenge. He said: “Sheffield is a city of makers, with a tremendous history of technology talent and ingenuity. I am part of a group of staff and students based at the University with a deep passion for developing technology for good and a firm belief that science, engineering and design should be used to make the world a better place for all.

“Hackcessible is a make-a-thon that brings together engineers, designers, computer scientists, students and others to collaborate with individuals with disabilities and create workable products that support their needs.

“We want to put end-users at the heart of the make-a-thon and invite them to lead the project as “Co-designers” to ensure we design products that are useful and effective in solving everyday challenges.”

The co-designers will present the teams with a problem they want them to solve later this month when they meet for the first time. The students will then have five weeks to develop a deep understanding of the challenge and to mock up possible solution ideas.

On 1st and 2nd December, the teams will create their prototype assistive technology solutions at the iForge makerspace in The Diamond.

To find out more about this exciting event check out the Hackcessible 2018 website. If you would like to get involved as a sponsor, judge or mentor contact the team here.