AI for Accessibility

According to the Czech Statistical Office, there are around 1.1 million people with some form of disability in the Czech Republic. For many of them, simple tasks such as shopping for groceries and other necessities pose a great challenge. But it doesn’t have to be like that.

VIA Association is collaborating with Microsoft to organise an international online hackathon, where participants will use Microsoft AI tools to develop solutions that can help people with specific needs in their daily life. The two winning teams will receive 10,000 euros (250,000 CZK) to complete their project and one of them will receive additional 200,000 CZK from the Vodafone Foundation.

An innovative series of online events

The hackathon was originally supposed to be a traditional in-person event. Because of the situation around COVID-19 outbreak, we have decided to move the hackathon fully into online environment. Thanks to this format, we are able to enrich the event with a range of exciting educational webinars tailored exactly to the participants‘ needs and to give our contestants more freedom in scheduling their work with Microsoft consultants.

The online events start on April 20 and the winner will be announced in the middle of June.

Why

An estimated 100 million people in Central and Eastern Europe are living with some form of disability. Together with Microsoft we believe that Artificial Intelligence can significantly help tackle some of the problems that people with disabilities are facing on a daily basis.

What

The AI for Accessibility HACKATHON is aiming to bring to life creative solutions in order to leverage the power of AI to amplify human capability. This year’s focus is to create inclusiveness through the use of AI in the retail industry, which is one of the largest in the world and everyone has a connection to it on a daily basis. Thus, giving the opportunity to everyone to be able to have access to its services equally and effectively is crucial.

How it works

The teams participating in the contest will be working together with Microsoft consultants to develop their solution which will be aiming to create a more inclusive environment for people with disabilities, in the retail industry. The solution will need to be based on Microsoft AI resources and technologies. Each team can use 5 hours of consultations based on their needs. With their consultants, they can discuss wide range of topics: from business issues to technical questions.

Who are the participants

NGOs, start-ups or established companies from Czechia, Slovakia, Romania and Greece. There are 12 interesting projects focusing on a wide range of topics: from cash recognition for visually impaired people to accessible tourism.

With support from Microsoft

AI for Good is a Microsoft program which is providing technology, resources and expertise to empower those working to solve humanitarian issues and create a more sustainable and accessible world.

 

The Vodafone Foundation Czech Republic focuses on supporting ICT innovations aiming to make a difference in the world.