Hackcessible Challenge Dinner

Hackcessible started in 2018 as a collaboration between staff and students at the University of Sheffield. Sheffield is a city of makers, with a tremendous history of technology talent and ingenuity. This group of students, academics and innovators had 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.

Inspired by the likes of the AT-Hack at MIT, one of the first disability-related hackathons, and the popular BBC program “The Big Life Fix”, we successfully delivered our first event – Hackcessible 2018 – culminating in a weekend-long make-a-thon to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3rd. Teams produced eight new prototypes to address very different accessibility challenges, from making the performance of live music more accessible for musicians with visual impairments to developing a discreet exoskeletal arm support for individuals with mobility challenges.

In 2019, we expanded the event to include Product Design and Occupational Therapy students from Sheffield Hallam University, taking on challenges from games for people with visual impairments to memory aids for the elderly. In 2021, we reached further than we ever had before! We partnered with nationwide organisations and invited challengers and students from across the UK and beyond to participate to take advantage of the remote working phenomenon that Covid had accelerated. 

What is Hackcessible?

Hackcessible is an Assistive Technology innovation competition consisting of a series of workshops and an annual make-a-thon. It brings together engineers, designers, programmers, healthcare professionals and students to collaborate with individuals with disabilities and create workable products that support their needs, redefining how we accelerate innovation in Assistive Technology.

What makes us different?

We want to put end-users at the heart of the make-a-thon, inviting them to lead the project as co-designers and to participate in every aspect of Hackcessible, from the workshops to the make-a-thon, to ensure we design products that are useful and effective in solving everyday challenges.

Why take part?

  • You are guaranteed to learn and apply new skills.
  • A golden opportunity to build a great network and make new friends.
  • Gain experience in turning concepts into actions.
  • You’ll have built something by the end of the weekend! It may not be completely finished but you should have an early prototype solution to present.
  • Make a difference and change lives.
  • You could get external recognition – be part of something that may be considered for commercialisation.
  • Win prizes.
  • Have fun!

Who can take part?

  • Students from any University can be part of a team
  • University staff can help support their students to participate
  • People with accessibility and assistive technology challenges can submit them and, if your challenge is suitable for Hackcessible, we will try to pair you up with local students
  • Anyone with skills to offer – whether you’re a tech expert or you’re experienced in assistive technology or healthcare – can get in touch with us and could get involved as a mentor or workshop provider