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Abu Dhabi: Hackathon winners code for impact with accessibility-focused projects

Abu Dhabi: Hackathon winners code for impact with accessibility-focused projects
20 May 2024 09:09

AMEINAH ALZEYOUDI (ABU DHABI)

The Ministry of Interior, in cooperation with 42 Abu Dhabi School, recently organised the InnovateX Hackathon, a hackathon aimed at innovation that featured the participation of more than 100 programmers from 32 countries. The challenge revolved around enhancing the features of the Ministry of Interior’s application and developing innovative digital solutions and new smart services.

This event provided an opportunity for students from 42 Abu Dhabi School, a tuition-free coding school, to present their own innovative ideas for features designed for the users’ journey, especially people of determination and the elderly.

One such idea was to add conversational interfaces to provide assistance and complete transactions through speech recognition technology, which meets the needs of both people of determination and the general public.

Dr. Ahmed Sultan Al Shuaibi, Executive Director of the Higher Education Sector at the Department of Education and Knowledge in Abu Dhabi, stressed the importance of these events in enhancing cooperation between educational institutions and government agencies to promote innovative software development projects. He also commended the success of the hackathon in improving the Ministry of Interior’s application for people of determination and ensuring ease of interaction with basic services.

Rashid Khalfan Al Kindi, Director of the Innovation Center at the Ministry of Interior, stressed the Ministry’s keenness to promote innovation and provide an incubating environment for innovators, in line with the strategic plans of the UAE government.

Marcos Muller Habig, Acting CEO of 42 Abu Dhabi School  stressed the importance of hosting the hackathon in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior, in line with the school’s commitment to providing a pioneering educational experience for all students and developing talent in the digital field.

One of the winning team members, Abdullah Al-Hammadi, explained that his team’s project was focused on developing a virtual assistant named Salma, designed to help users, especially people of determination, complete transactions through voice commands.

Anas, who was on the team that won first place, also created a virtual character that speaks the Emirati dialect of Arabic to help others speak and understand the language. “This was the idea of the entire team, and I also made a map to evaluate all the institutions under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to provide services for people of determination,” he said.

At the conclusion of the three-day event, Dr. Ahmed Sultan Al Shuaibi and Major Rashid Khalfan Al Kindi honoured the winning teams, awarding the first-place team with a prize of Dh20,000.

Last February, the Ministry of Interior signed a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Education and Knowledge, represented by 42 Abu Dhabi School, with the aim of cooperating in innovative software projects and joint training initiatives.

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