University of Maryland


Empower Access 2023: Disability Awareness Month INFO Hackathon

Human Computer Interaction Lab, University of Maryland at College Park

The University of Maryland (UMD) College of Information Studies (INFO) hosted its first accessibility hackathon for UMD students led by Dr. Galina Reitz, “Empower Access 2023: Disability Awareness Month INFO Hackathon,” where innovation meets real-world utility. Projects designed at the “Empower Access 2023” Accessibility Hackathon aimed to help increase accessibility. Using physical and virtual tools and hands-on guidance, participants had the unique opportunity to design groundbreaking accessibility solutions. Students collaborated with peers, industry experts, and disability advocates to ensure technology serves everyone equally. A hackathon doesn’t always revolve around coding and programming. For instance, the process of transforming a mind map into a new accessibility solution or design prototype represents an initial stage in the development of a ‘groundbreaking accessibility solution’.


USG Students Create Solutions for the Elderly Care Sector in AgeTech Hackathon for $5,000

Universities at Shady Grove December 19, 2022

The Lab for Entrepreneurship and Transformative Leadership (“The Lab”) at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG), in collaboration with  iTAP (Information Technology for the Aging Person) from the College of Information Studies (University of Maryland iSchool), hosted an AgeTech Hackathon on December 8th, 2022. Bringing light to one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, the hackathon focused on the aging care industry. Student teams were tasked with the prompt to pitch an innovative solution to support older people in their homes. Hosted by experienced entrepreneur, Cornell University Professor, and University Startups CFO Karen Livingston, the event was open to students from all academic programs on the USG campus. Six teams of students competed for a chance to win the top prize of $5,000. After a strong lineup of demonstrations, the 1st place was awarded to a team made up of UMD students Richard Forng, Sheila Walsh, and Sehba Wani. Their innovation was centered around the problem of older adults not eating enough nourishing meals. They came up with “Cook With Me”, a video calling solution demonstrating features such as a voice assistant for adults with dexterity issues, video calling with family and friends during meal time, and an option to connect to meal delivery services for pre-prepared ingredients.

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In the Fall semester of 2022, iTAP collaborated with Designing for Aging graduate course instructor Dr. Amanda Lazar, Assistant Professor at the College Park campus. This partnership constructed four in person co-design sessions between students and elders, culminating in a final presentation of the design proposals. The students met their goal in bringing forth healthcare technologies designed for the older adults community.


The University of Maryland Information Technology for the Aging Person (iTAP) presented about Technology Tools for Caregivers to the Baltimore County Department of Aging facilitated by Dr. Galina Reitz, PhD, Faculty Program Director at College of Information Studies (UMD iSchool) University of Maryland and Scott Mobarry a Graduate Student in the College of Information Studies. The presentation shared information on tools, apps, EHR, and home care technologies that are helping families coordinate care and anything else that applies to the family caregiver.