CREATE AI+Accessibility Hackfest – Winter ’24

March 6, 2024 – post-event update

The event featured invited speakers Heather Nolis, Ian Stenseng, and Shaun Kane and exciting workshops on building custom GPT and creating accessible Jupyter notebooks. See the full lineup of brainstorming, hacking, and presentation sessions.

The 3-day hackfest attendees included those with no experience in coding or hacking, others with advanced experience in generative AI and building software or tools, and, at the center, attendees with lived experiences of disabilities who contributed their experiences and expertise to invent an accessible AI-enabled future.

Prizes awarded

While appreciation and congratulations go to all participants, these projects were awarded prizes:

First place:

Nishit Bhasin and Lakshya Garg is voice-activated assistance technology, powered by GPT-4 Vision, and designed to make e-commerce accessible to everyone. Users can navigate, select, and buy products using simple voice commands. 

Second prize: AI Posture Monitor & Intervention Alerts for Home Health

Max Smoot, Lige Yang, and Richard Li

AI Posture Monitor & Intervention Alerts for Home Health monitors someone’s seated position to identify when they are in an at-risk posture and subsequently alerts a caretaker with recommended corrections.

Third prize: Formflow Ai

Abdul Hussein, Abreham Tegenge, and Aelaph Elias reads PDFs, mail, and forms and gives an easy-to-read summarization, with the goal of helping people read and understand documents and forms. 

Fourth place: Clearview Assist

Dhruv Khanna, Ritika Rajpal, Minal Naik, and Menita Agarwal

(No description provided.)

Fifth place: Student Success Portal

Mia Vong, Cameron Jacob Miller, Keyvyn Rogers, and Jerid Stevenot

Student Success Portal provides AI-powered assistance for challenges in supporting K-12 students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).

Sessions, workshops and hack time

  • Introductory session about the potential of AI for accessibility (also on Zoom)
  • Invited speaker Ian Stenseng, Director of Innovation & Accessibility at The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. (also on Zoom)
  • Brainstorming project ideas
    • Learn from community members with lived experiences of disabilities to make sure your hack is solving a real accessibility need.
  • Lunch (provided) and conversation, mentoring, team forming, idea hatching
  • Invited speaker Heather Nolis, Principal Machine Learning Engineer of the Digital AI Team and Chair of the Accessibility Community at T-Mobile (ACT) at T-Mobile (also on Zoom)
  • Optional Workshops and hack time
  • Hack time
  • Pizza dinner and opportunities to get feedback from mentors


  • Work time
  • Lunch (provided) and opportunity to present for feedback from mentors
  • Presentation of judging rubric
  • Invited speaker, Shaun Kane, Researcher at Google AI and Director of the Superhuman Computing Lab at University of Colorado Boulder (also on Zoom)
  • Hack time


  • Optional hack time
  • How to present accessibly & sample pitch presentation (also on Zoom)


  • Presentations to judges (also on Zoom)
  • Judges deliberation
  • Announcements, prizes, and closing keynote (also on Zoom)




Brainstorming ideas

Relevant topics will be driven by community needs to increase access to technology, and to the world through technology. These topics could include, for example:

  • AI’s use for generating plain language summaries of rights
  • Accessibility of AI tools and interfaces
  • Using AI to increase the accessibility of written and visual content
  • Robotic control for access
  • Tools for designing accessible physical objects
  • Using AI to get feedback on the accessibility of things you’re making
  • AI for embodied agent interactions
  • AI applications for health and wellbeing
  • Modalities for human/generative AI interactions such as voice or touch
  • Guidelines or ideas around agents that that may be used for accessibility
  • What disability simulation might look like in the age of AI agents
  • Best practices and pitfalls

Accessible & Inclusive Textiles Hackfest

July 15, 2022

In July 2022, CREATE hosted a hackfest for anyone interested in exploring, generating, and working with a variety of textile artifacts that center access and inclusion. From knitting patterns that can be automatically modified to address specific access needs, to auxetic harnesses that can comfortably hold a child in a ride on an accessible toy car, we see an opportunity to create new pipelines for equitable participation and access. Similarly, clothing and accessories can express style, support the profile of a body presenting according to gender preference, and fit with specific cultural identities. 

We invite you to join us in envisioning accessible and inclusive textile futures by creating new approaches and ideas together during our hackfest.

Judging event and details

The judges included:

The prize for the top project will be an embroidery machine.


Jennifer Mankoff, CREATE Co-Director and the Richard E. Ladner Professor, Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, whose work is focused on giving people with disabilities the voice, tools and agency to advocate for themselves. She takes a multifaceted approach that includes machine learning, 3D printing, and tool building, at a high level, Mankoff’s goal is to tackle the technical challenges necessary for everyday individuals and communities to solve real-world problems.

Afroditi Psara, a UW assistant professor in the UW Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS) and transdisciplinary artist whose research focuses on the art and science interaction with a critical discourse in the creation of artifacts. Interested in the revitalization of tradition as a methodology of hacking existing norms about technical objects, she uses cyber crafts and other gendered practices as speculative strings, and open-source technologies as educational models of diffusing knowledge. 

Daniela Rosner, an associate professor in Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE) at the UW. Her research investigates the social, political, and material circumstances of technology development. She has worked in design research at Microsoft Research, Adobe Systems, Nokia Research and as an exhibit designer at several museums and is the author of several articles on craft and technoculture, including “Legacies of craft and the centrality of failure in a mother-operated hackerspace.”