EPICS in IEEE

Access and Abilities Competition

EPICS in IEEE Positively Impacting Access and Abilities

More than 15 percent of the world’s population (about 1 billion people) live with disabilities, such as hearing, vision, mental health or mobility challenges. EPICS in IEEE engaged the ingenuity of students around the world to solve these accessibility issues, enable adaptive services, redesign technology for equity, and develop assistive technologies within their communities through its Access & Abilities Competition.

The Competition

The Access and Abilities Competition, made possible in partnership with the IEEE Foundation, challenged university students from all over the world to use their engineering skills to help solve accessibility issues within their communities. Through this competition, students, faculty and IEEE professionals came together with community organizations to address the technological needs of communities through service learning.

The outpouring of ideas was tremendous.  The EPICS in IEEE Committee received 58 proposals and after careful review selected 23 projects, which were funded in early 2023.

Student teams were awarded between US$1,000 and US$10,000 to build their prototype or solution in collaboration with their community partners within 12 months. Projects range from a sound detection device in Canada to a wheelchair electric assist device in the US to a self-navigating robotic walking aid in Malaysia. The projects involved more than 350 students and 149 IEEE volunteers and aim to impact an estimated 8,000 individuals in the first year of deployment.

This competition is funded by the Jon C. Taenzer Memorial Fund established by the IEEE Foundation in 2019 with a generous bequest from the Estate of Mr. Taenzer, an IEEE Life Senior Member. The fund is restricted for the purpose of supporting engineers in developing countries and to support breakthroughs in aids for the disabled.

The projects will be wrapping up in the first quarter of 2024. Below are stories from our teams talking about their experience during the competition.

Driving the Mission

Driving the Mission

In commemoration of EPICS in IEEE’s 15th Anniversary Celebration, Panama-based professor of engineering Victoria Serrano, Ph.D. shares her unique...

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An Uplifting Innovation

An Uplifting Innovation

With their development of a “Low-Cost Stairlift” through IEEE’s “Access and Abilities Competition,” a student team from Pakistan aims to offer new...

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Game Changer

Game Changer

Thanks to their “Adaptive Mouse” project – a finalist in EPICS in IEEE’s “Access and Abilities Competition” -- University of Florida students hope...

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Innovation in Motion

Innovation in Motion

A winning project through EPICS in IEEE’s “Access and Abilities Competition” opens exciting new doors to inclusivity for those with disabilities in...

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