AimtecHackathon 2024: Programmers help break the barrier

Competition Students Achievements

Dozens of hackers, forty hours of coding, and one common goal - help people who struggle with their disabilities every day. It was the theme of this year's #AimtecHackathon with the subtitle "When Code Helps". The event took place from March 8 to March 10 at Moving Station in Pilsen.

Talented teams had to choose one challenge that matched a specific need of a particular person or group of people with disabilities. They had a widerange of technologies to support their solution, from speech processing, cloud services, and 3D printing to virtual and augmented reality and smart hardware kits. With the support of more than a dozen mentors, the teams were able to create a range of innovative solutions that can help improve the lives of people with disabilities.

What topics were waiting for the hackers? Creating an app for blind Lukáš. Supporting memory training for mentally and physically disabled Martin, completing the website to support cancer patients and their loved ones, or using communication cards for children with autism spectrum disorder.

Who will the winning project help?
The winner of this year's #AimtecHackathon, both in the audience vote and among the expert jury, was the Vision team, consisting mainly of FAV students. They won with their project of an AI assistant for people with visual impairments. The proposed mobile app in a way "sees for the user" ,and the user can thus, with the help of a single photo taken and predefined or directly spoken questions, get back from the app the details of the scene the app "sees", spoken in a human voice.

"It was challenging, but we managed to divide the work well within the team, drawing on and building on our experience from the previous year, and it turned out great. We brought the project to a fully functional concept. We came here to learn a lot of new things, but the overlap that it can really help someone is amazing. It's a completely different atmosphere here, people don't just compete with each other, they help each other, even between teams," says Marek Hanzl, a member of the winning team: "We would like the project to not only work fully for the people who need it, but also for others to be interested in helping us complete it. We're not forgetting the entrepreneurial overlap either. We will be happy if UWB allows us to continue working on the project within our studies. It will give us the motivation to see the project through to the end and put a working version on the store."

The 2nd place went to the Blindtooth team, who fought for the jury's favour with their project "Localization of the Blind". This team also consisted mostly of FAS students, and the possibility of continuing the project as a student thesis is currently being addressed. The expert jury, consisting of representatives of the organizing company Aimtec, technology mentors and sponsors, also awarded the Plajta team, which won 3rd place with the project "One-handed joystick". This team, as well as several others, was made up of mostly high school students, and a distinctive feature of this year's #AimtecHackathon was precisely the connection of high school students with mentors and FAS students.

"Hats off to everyone who sacrificed their free time when they could have been at home watching TV shows or playing games. But they came here to work on a project that will help someone," Libor Váša, one of the jury members and a representative of the FAS, praised the work of the teams and urged the students to continue working on their projects and not to hesitate to use the support of their teachers in their studies.

"It is great that, for example, the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen has promised to support projects that have a future. Students will be able to continue working on them for two semesters. We see this as a crucial moment, and it makes us extremely happy," says Jiří Dobrý on behalf of the event organiser, Aimtec. "We had both first-year high school students and college students. The potential of young people in the region is huge. We are seeing a big boom in the use of artificial intelligence or cloud services at this year's event, which help with text recognition, image or speech analysis at a high level," adds Dobrý.

The #AimtecHackathon was also enriched by public lectures and a programme for children
In addition to the programming competition, the #AimtecHackathon traditionally offered a series of technology lectures for the public called TechTalks. Jindřich Matoušek spoke on behalf of the FAV and gave an insight into speech synthesis technologies. What possibilities this technology offers and what ethical issues it raises - it was the topic of the lecture. Among the speakers was Jan Hejtmánek from Deloitte, who is a graduate of FAV in the field of natural language processing.

The organizers did not forget about the little ones and offered many activities in the section called YoungHackers. For example, child visitors could train their own artificial intelligence, 3D print an object, build their own electronic circuit, try out virtual reality or try to build a track for the mBot robot to get it to its destination as quickly as possible. This stand has been a great success like last year.


Faculty of Applied Sciences

Martina Batkova (taken from Press Release of Aimtec)

15. 03. 2024