Navigational Platform wins accessibility mini-hackathon at Inspirefest

17 May 2019

Image: coolhand1180/

Winning project aimed to tackle the challenge of people with disabilities needing to give Irish Rail 24 hours’ notice before travelling.

Caroline Cunningham took to the Inspirefest stage, representing the winning team from the Mini Hack Access competition, Navigational Platform.

The Mini Hack Access was run by Hack Access Dublin in partnership with experience design agency Solvers, with special guests Joanne O’Riordan, advocate and journalist; and Noel Joyce, head of design at Hax in China.

The theme of the competition was accessibility, and it provided templates to help participants frame their thinking and come up with hacks that would improve accessibility and inclusion. It was to raise awareness of the problems faced every day by people with disabilities.

Navigational Platform chose to tackle the challenge of train travel. People with disabilities have to give 24 hours’ notice to Irish Rail before they can travel. With this in mind, the team proposed the solution of a robotic platform to guide wheelchair users to the train. Along with Cunningham, the team included Peter Pudaite, mother and daughter Melanie and Ciara, and Ricardo Murillo. They took inspiration from Tesla’s self-driving cars to come up with the solution.

The competition took place during breakout sessions over the two days of Inspirefest, starting in the Marker Hotel on Thursday, 16 May, where the competitors met the Solvers team and were split into diverse teams.

Today (17 May), the teams pitched their accessibility ideas before four finalists battled it out in a bid to become the overall winner.

Eamon Doyle, CTO of Solvers, arrived on the main stage of Inspirefest this afternoon to announce the winner. Doyle said the hack was a rapid design-thinking workshop aimed at solving problems. Solvers works on a concept attributed to Albert Einstein that says you will spend an hour solving a problem: 59 minutes defining and figuring out the problem, and one minute actually solving it. This hack was an hour of condensed problem-solving.

Speaking to managing editor Elaine Burke, Solvers CEO Kirk Donohoe said the company could help the winner design a pitch deck of some sort to enable them to bring the idea further along after Inspirefest.

Hack Access Dublin is a series of community events and workshops focused on innovative problem-solving, education, and empowerment of people with and without a disability. It is running its first community meet-up this year at Dogpatch Labs on 5 June.

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event celebrating the point where science, technology and the arts collide. 

Jenny Darmody is the deputy editor of Silicon Republic