“Microsoft’s hackathon isn’t just about fixing the world’s problems”


Hi, everyone. A principle┬áresearch designer who works at Microsoft, has her teams to create a three-day hackathon. Rosemary and her team are working at long tables covered with electronics, computers and snacks in one of the two 45,885-square foot tents set up for the meetups. The group is working tools to help people with poor eyesight play video games. Other teams are hacking together tools to help homeless shelters, cities and counties plan and respond to surging needs. Hackathons are now so popular they’ve become standard procedure inside the tech industry and outside of it too.

Facebook has hackathons, as does Google. NASA has a hackathon. C NET hosts are every year as well. Microsoft holds the largest private annual hackathon in the world during One Week, an annual gathering created to get everyone on the same page and inform their thinking in the year ahead. The hackathon is just one part of the week: there’s a science fair, and question-and-answer sessions with Microsoft’s leadership. It isn’t just an opportunity to faster collaboration between teams, members from the company’s engineering, finance, operations, and consumer divisions. The list of successful projects include Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller, a $99 device launching this year that helps disabled gamers play on the Xbox game console and Windows PCs.

There’s tech involved to help dyslexics read more easily, which has since been integrated into much of Microsoft’s software. “When we talk about our mission of empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, it can’t be just a set of words”, Satya Nadella. Another hackathon team created tech that let’s people control a wheelchair with their gaze. It’s been turned into an entire set of features on Microsoft’s Windows software powering hundreds of millions of PCs, including allowing you to log on your computer merely by looking at it.


Tech for Good:

Back inside the tent, one team is building technology to help people use their Xbox video game console to guide them through different types of therapy, such as recovering from sports injuries. For parents who might have to take their kids back and forth for visits, they don’t actually do a lot to exercises at home, and so they’re not the betterment of themselves,” said Megan Molley was normally work on Microsoft’s operations team but helping to lead this project.

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