About Inclusive Stem Hackathon

Inclusive STEM Hackathon is a 24-hour hackathon where blind and visually impaired developers, industry professionals and engineering students come together to work on exciting and challenging problems. The aim of the hackathon is to sensitize the engineers from potential IT companies as also the wider company mindset on the functioning and efficiency of persons with blindness and low vision by working together on the project, while also allowing the participants with disabilities an opportunity to learn from experienced professionals.

Unlike several other hackathons, the hackathon does not strictly enforce working on accessibility-related projects. The final projects must be accessible for people with disabilities though. This learning, in turn, can help companies evaluate their policies and improve them if needed..

Besides coding for 24 hrs, the hackathon is also a platform for blind participants to network with company representatives to share their interests, aspirations and challenges in the recruitment process or once at job. This learning can also help companies evaluate their policies and improve them if needed.

After a successful hackathon in 2018, we are excited to bring back a bigger and better Inclusive Stem Hackathon 2019. The event will be held at IIIT Bangalore from 17th to 19th January 2019. With the theme "Empowering the Underrepresented", the event will challenge participants to develop high-impact products in 24 Hrs., while also appreciating the beauty of diversity on their teams.

The event has been divided into two tracks this year.

  • Regular Track: Consisting of teams of five composed of two blind developers with experience in computer science, two industry professionals and one sighted computer science student.

  • Mentorship Track: Consisting of teams of four composed of two blind developers relatively new to computer science, one corporate professional (as a mentor) and one sighted computer science student.

Several side events including accessibility trainings, disability sensitisation workshops, mentorship events, panel discussions etc. will also be organised during the course of the event.


What is the difference between the Regular Track and the Mentorship Track?
The regular track will include more experienced blind developers, and so the corporate professionals and sighted developers will be more involved as team members working on the project. The mentorship track, however, will include students relatively new to computer science, and so the corporate professional will act more as a mentor for the team than a participant. Participants in both the tracks will code.
When is the event?
The event is from 17th to 19th January 2019 at IIIT Bangalore. Participants should plan on being at the venue for the entire three days.
How will the teams be formed?
A few weeks before the hackathon, we will invite all participants to share their project ideas and preferences, and communicate with each other. The participants will then try to form teams of five in the regular track, and teams of four in the mentorship track (as per the composition details above). If they are unable to form teams themselves, then organisers will facilitate this process, taking their preferences into consideration.
Does the project need to be related to accessibility?
No, but the end product must be accessible for people with disabilities. There will be several people to help out with that, so it's completely okay if you haven't worked with accessibility before.
Are there any constraints on what the project could be?
Yes, the project must be relevant to the theme "empowering the underrepresented".
I am an industry professional/sighted student. What's in this for me?
Love participating in hackathons? Want to make the tech industry more inclusive? want to work on projects that can make a difference? Want to meet fellow tech enthusiasts who are passionate about using their skills for good? Want to experience how blind people code? Want to mentor students new to programming? Want to win exciting prizes? If you answered yes to any of these, we encourage you to apply!
I am an industry professional/sighted student, and I’m a little nervous about working with a blind person. How can I be more prepared?
You do not need preparation! Just be yourself and come with an open and inquisitive mind without any preconceived notions or biases.
I am a blind participant. Will I get help navigating the venue?
Yes, we will have volunteers that will help out navigating the venue.
Can we build on past projects?
You cannot work, copy, or improve on past projects. Using your own APIs or third-party APIs is alright, as long as the project is completely new.
When will registrations open for the 2019 hackathon?
Registration for blind participants is now closed. Registration for corporate professionals and sighted university students is now open. Click here to register.
What if I have other questions?
Write to us at