Braille Monitor                                     December 2017

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Technological Team-Up: The Federation Sponsors Its First Hackathon

Team A discusses the challenges posed by translating information from Google Maps into text.

I have heard of hacking, but what in the world is a hackathon, and why would the National Federation of the Blind be involved in it? According to Wikipedia, a hackathon is “a design sprint-like event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development, including graphic designers, interface designers, project managers, and others, often including subject-matter-experts, collaborate intensively on software projects. The goal of a hackathon is to create usable software.”

Sigaccess is a special interest group of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). The ACM brings together computing educators, researchers, and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources, and address the field’s challenges. Sigaccess promotes the interests of professionals working on research and development of computing and information technology to help people with disabilities.

The National Federation of the Blind in partnership with Sigaccess hosted a hackathon. The theme was accessible tracking, both of one’s physical location and one’s physical condition. One team focused on accessible mapping, and the other focused on accessing information about heart rate and other information while exercising.

Team B discusses methods to give feedback on pulse, speed, and other information to blind athletes.
Two members of Team B take a moment to pose for the camera.
Team A presents their conclusions to the group at the end of the day.

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