What is hackABILITY?

hackABILITY is an extended hackathon that will bring together passionate teams to create solutions for individuals with disabilities. hackABILITY will raise awareness about emerging assistive and adaptive technology opportunities, and facilitate the rapid prototyping of devices that may be considered for further development and commercialization.

When is it?

All hackABILITY events will occur September to December 2017. Attend our info sessions on Sep 19 at Microsoft Canada or Sep 21 at Sheridan College to learn more, ask questions, and form your team. Team applications are open now until Thursday October 12. Teams will work on their projects in October & November. The hackABILITY finale will be held on Thursday, December 7 – stay tuned for more details.

Who should participate?

We are looking for people that are passionate about solving problems! hackABILITY teams will consist of at least 4 people, including a person with a disability or a caregiver. Teams are recommended to have expertise in design, coding, and engineering.

Where can I find other team members?

Attend one of our two info sessions! You will be able to meet others who are also interested in participating, talk about your project ideas and skill sets, and form your team of at least 4 members.

How does my team apply?

You will need to fill out the Team Application form. This form includes contact info for all team members, a brief project overview, and the tools/resources that you may require in order to complete your project.

What are the deadlines?

Teams will need to apply by October 12. Throughout October & November, teams will work on their projects, and will be required to check in regularly so that we can provide resources to overcome challenges wherever possible. Final project submissions will be due on November 27 (which will include a 1-page overview and a presentation slide deck based on a template). The final event will be held on December 7 at University of Toronto – Mississauga campus.

What are the project requirements?

The goal of hackABILITY is to take the ‘dis’ out of ‘disability’. Projects will create a prototype of an assistive or adaptive technology. The project scope should be feasible to accomplish by your team, and within the hackABILITY timeline and tools/resources. It is up to each team to choose the disability-related challenge, and their solution to that challenge.

What if my team doesn’t have access to the resources we need?

When you submit your Team Application form, you will need to include a list of the tools/resources your team may need to build your product/service (e.g. software, electronic test boards, sensors, 3D printing, etc). hackABILITY will coordinate access to free tools/resources with our sponsoring partners, but cannot guarantee to meet all requirements.

What kind of training and support will teams receive?

Throughout October and November, we will work with our sponsoring partners to organize training workshops for the tools/resources that are provided to teams. There will also be drop-in help sessions to provide more general feedback and advice for teams – more info to come!

Will mentors be available for the teams?

Yes! We are working with community leaders in the areas of technology & accessibility to provide mentors for the teams. Interested in becoming a mentor? Apply here.

Where will teams work on their projects?

We have partnered with Engineering.com to give each team access to Project Leo – a virtual whiteboard which will allow teams to work together and keep track of their projects. Teams are expected to make their own work arrangements, whether in person or remotely.

How will the projects be judged?

Solutions will be assessed based on innovation, scalability, and affordability criteria.

I’m interested in being involved, but not as part of a team. What else can I do?

Thank you for your support! There are two other ways in which you can get involved: as a Mentor or as a Sponsor – simply fill out the application form at the respective links. You’re also welcome to contact us if you have other ideas.