Sahayak Virtual Hackathon 1.0
The School of Computer Science at UPES, Dehradun, in association with UPES ACM and ACM-W Student Chapters, organised Sahayak Virtual Hackathon 1.0, India’s first-ever state-of-the-art Hackathon directed at aiding Divyangjan – the differently-abled people – especially affected by an endangered economy, health implications, and limited prospects amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. Ideas were showcased that employed the latest technology in the game – AI, ML, AR, VR, IoT, Biometrics, Cybersecurity, and Robotics to devise solutions, build prototypes, and develop applications that make a positive and palpable difference in the lives of the specially-abled during this pandemic.
In line with social distancing guidelines, the Hackathon was hosted online in its entirety, using video-conferencing and instant messaging apps, and a top-end website. Over 816 participants participated in the month-long event. Extensive digital publicizing and consequent outreach strongly influenced the course of the Hackathon. Teams from 110 distinct institutions, across 21 Indian states, in addition to teams from the US, participated.
The event was kickstarted by convenor Dr. Virender Kadyan and coordinator Ms. Shubhi Sharma. Eminent speakers at the event were Mr. Rajive Gulati (Sr. Programme Officer & Head Evaluation, UNTIL), Karminder Singh (Philanthropist; Secretary, Patiala School for the Deaf and Blind), Mr. Sanjay Kumar (Deputy Director, ISLRTC) and Dr. Himangshu Das (Director, NIEPMD). Themes included Social Inclusion, Sanitization Resources, Educational Technology, Maintaining Social Distancing, News/Information Delivery Systems and transitioning to changed circumstances. Sahayak Hackathon 1.0 was declared open by Dr. T.P. Singh, Head Department of Informatics.
These teams won cash prizes of ₹25000, ₹15000, and ₹10000 respectively, and round-trip tickets to Singapore. Sponsors, reputable collaborators, knowledge partners, and other associates, all of whom helped SVH 1.0 scale an unprecedented pinnacle of success, include, IBM, United Nations Technology Innovations Labs (UNTIL), Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC), National Institute for the Empowerment of Persons with Visual Disabilities (NIEPVD), Guaana, Creative Tim, and Learning While Travelling.