About ATHack


The goal of ATHack is to bring awareness to the important field of developing assistive technologies. We pair teams of students with clients in the Boston/Cambridge community who live with a disability. Each client has a problem in mind which they face because of their disability. Over the course of the hackathon, students brainstorm, design, and create prototype solutions for their client.


ATHack 2016 was a success! Check back soon for details about ATHack 2017


What shop tools will be available for use?

Participants will have access to the Beaverworks lab area and machine shop, with supervision. This includes drills, hand tools, a laser cutter, and other machines.

What materials will be available to work with?

We will provide a stock of basic materials and some special contributions from sponsors - including Arduinos, Raspberry Pis, breadboards, acrylic, and Oculus VR. Participants will have a chance to request specific materials after forming teams with a client.

Am I expected to produce a working prototype my client can use?

The purpose of ATHack is to get students involved in creating and hacking with the AT space. Clients understand that the results of the hackathon may not be an immediately usable project. But if you'd like to continue developing your project after the hackathon with your client, we're happy to help and provide some resources.

Is this only for software engineers? Do I need to have previous project experience?

AT projects are interdisciplinary! We're looking for mechanical engineerings, electrical engineerings, software engieners, designers - anyone who is interested in creating products in the realm of AT. The hackathon is about learning and creating - if you're excited about the projects, you're welcome to participate.

Will the client be telling us exactly what they want us to make? Is there a creative aspect to the hackathon?

Clients are looking for your ideas and inspiration so that they can work with their teams on an AT project. No one will be dictating what you're building during the event.

Who is allowed to participate?

The hackathon is open to MIT undergrads, grad students, and affiliates. The hackathon is also open to students from other universities, though we unfortunately cannot provide any travel assistance.


Ishwarya Ananthabhotla

Jaya Narain

William Li

Emma Nelson

Jen Tylock

Ben Rosen-Filardo

Jonathan Dweck

Annie Dai

Tally Portnoi

Pristinavae Manning

This hackathon was founded with the help of Professor Seth Teller. We continue to be inspired by him.

Past Winners

We really appreciated all of the hard work, time, and dedication put in by all of the teams during last year's hackathon! Here's a list of the winners and runner ups from 2016.

Click here for the full list of 2016 projects and some photos.

Click here to see the 2015 winners projects.

1st Place: Team Colleen, who built a functional lift for a student to get out of her wheelchair after a fall in her room.

2nd Place: Team Jae, who built a customized, foldable cane attachment for a visually impaired wheelchair user to help navigate without getting in the way of a guide dog.

3rd Place: Team Megan worked with a teenager who does not communicate verbally. They made a storybook for her that she can show people to introduce herself, and a platform that allows her to touch other people on the platform and feel music bass as a result (she loves music).

Honorable mention: Team Jonathan made an app for a blind user to tell if the lights are turned on or off.

Honorable mention: Team Barbara made a live-editable peer-based interface for voice to speech transcription. Anyone in a room can see the transcription and fix it and the changes are viewable to everyone else immediately. !

Thank you again to all of the teams that particpated last year! We greatly appreciate your time and efforts and we look forward to seeing you again this year!



If you are interested in participating as a student or client, we would love to hear from you at!
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