Microsoft announces winners of AI For Accessibility Hackathon 2024

Bangkok, 26 June 2024 – Microsoft Thailand, in collaboration with the Center for Digital Humanities, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Foundation for the Blind in Thailand under the Royal Patronage, recently organized the AI For Accessibility Hackathon 2024 competition. The event aimed to find innovative ideas that help solve real-world challenges faced by people with disabilities with the capabilities of AI and cloud to create impactful benefits, reduce digital divide, and build a more inclusive and accessible future for everyone.

The winning team was “To Day” from Chulalongkorn University and King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang with “BLINDERs”, a voice-controlled device that supports people with disabilities in the use of public transportation.

Elaborating on their design concept, team To Day said: “We wanted to help people with visual impairments travel more conveniently by public transportation, which required a tool that was simple to use, portable, and could fit into everyday life. We designed the BLINDERs device and used Azure OpenAI Service to connect the world with the user. Just by telling the device your current location and destination, BLINDERs will turn the voice command into text for processing and provide the necessary information to the user – such as the bus stop location, bus number, arrival time, price, and number of stops to reach the destination. In addition, it uses Azure Speech API to notify the user one stop in advance before reaching the destination, and it can also tell the details of the incoming bus with sound transmitted through the strap attached to the device.”

Namchok Petsaen, Data Analyst and Digital Communications of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and member of the hackathon’s panel of judges, said, “The concept of accessibility is important in creating a society where everyone can live in comfort and harmony together within the same environment. We saw many interesting ideas from competing teams that could be further developed to have real benefits. For team To Day, the judges see their concept as practical, low-cost, and usable by everyone – not just people with visual impairments. We want every team to take the feedback from the judges and turn their ideas into reality in the future.”


This was the 5th annual edition of the AI For Accessibility Hackathon, and the competition continued to garner a strong response with 48 teams from 17 universities across Thailand submitting their projects. Microsoft organized workshops to help students prepare for their project presentation, covering topics such as design thinking, dialogue on the needs of people with disabilities, storytelling techniques, and knowledge of various solutions and technologies. The main criteria for judging were the project concept, technologies used, and commercial feasibility.

The winning team received certificates from Microsoft, access to Azure for Students, and a six-month LinkedIn Premium subscription.