Challenges and Hackathons

24 Hour Universal Design Challenge 2011

Judge's Choice Award



The Judges’ Award went to Team “ALF” for their recognition of the universal difficulty experienced by all people when accessing lamp fittings or smoke detectors mounted high on walls or on ceilings.

Their design solution shown in the above image is a two part fitting that allows one part to lower to a height that makes changing a lamp or battery much easier for all people regardless of their age, size or ability.

People's Choice Award



The People’s Choice Award went to Team “Vessel” for their recognition of the universal difficulty experienced by all people when carrying items on a common serving tray, and at times having to release one hand temporarily.

Their design solution shown in the above image is a serving tray with a molded feature that enables a person to slide their hand into one end to temporarily hold the tray stable with one hand. The unique design feature makes transporting items much easier for all people regardless of their age, size or ability.

Read more about the 2011 24 Hour Universal Design challenge

24 Hour Universal Design Challenge 2010

Judge's Choice Award

Grafton Street service plus

Grafton Street


The service uses an RFID (radio frequency identification) enabled card. On entering a premises, a discreet scanning process allows participating businesses to access relevant details of a person’s disability to facilitate a premium customer service response tailored to the disability needs of the customer, if requested.

With approval from the GP or relevant authorities, the user applies for a Grafton St. Service Plus (GSSP) card through an online/telephone registration service. This data is stored on the card and scanned by participating businesses displaying the GSSP logo. When a person carrying the card enters the premises, the system prompts staff via a pager system, with advice on how to tailor their customer service to the specific needs of the disability in question.

Through this service, the customer receives a higher level of personal service in a manner that is both discreet and empathetic to their disability, without causing embarrassment or stigma.

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People's Choice Award

SOLAS System of ObeLisks for Accessible Streetscapes


In the Grafton Street area, the citiscape can be confusing and sometimes overwhelming. Unfortunately, access to information and services is limited. For a person with any form of reduced ability, this can make access to all that is offered nearly impossible. The SOLAS project creates a network of aesthetically pleasing structures within the highly dense urban zone which not only combine necessary human services but also re-design these services to be accessible to the largest possible audience. To implement this concept a number of different design approaches have been employed, at different scales. The proposal utilises visual markers, in the form of "obelisks", which function firstly at the level of the streetscape, defining principal and secondary entry -points to the Grafton Street area. Their forms draw on existing landmarks in the cityscape, and serve also to create a set of spatial reference points. In the detail of their design, they provide a range of accessible services, including a re-modelled inclusive ATM, information portals, accessible toilet facilities and combined seating area. The portals also provide a simple, multiuser navigational facility. Though each of these features has its own novel and unique design features, the sum of their parts make this project not only inclusive, but a social landmark and integrated feature of the city's landscape.

Read more about the 2010 24 Hour Universal Design Challenge

24 Hour Universal Design Challenge 2009

Judges Award

What a Load of Bollards


Team M worked with their 'design partner, Bob Kelly who has a vision impairment to address 3 issues:

  • increase contrast of materials and colour on the street scape, to increase awareness of potential hazards and aid safe passage
  • Street furniture obstructions causing injury
  • The feeling of panic and angst when lost or disorientated

They were interested in finding out what it is that makes you feel uncomfortable when lost and what might be done about it, so we came up with the idea of ‘Dublin, the city it’s ok to get lost in‘

Their design solution is an intuitive navigation system that could be added to the top of any kerbside bollard in a city. The bollard head is replaced by an information dial with a tactile high contrast coloured direction arrow and speech output. It comprises of the following features:

  • Standard bollards are fitted with a photo-luminescent /reflective high contrast stripe that is colour coded to guide you to an information node at key intersections. The stripe reduces possible injuries to both pedestrians
    and vehicles.
  • The bollard head is replaced by an information dial with a tactile high contrast coloured direction arrow. Twisting the dial directs the arrow towards important city landmarks. Dial can be gripped and easily twisted by people
    with poor hand dexterity.
  • A central push button operates an audio message for the blind user.
  • An integrated magnifying glass enlarges the text /image
    for visually impaired people. Approx 18pt – 32pt
  • Cast aluminium housing encased in tactile rubber cover with quartz glass magnifying window. Internal illumination by long life LED’s

Peoples Choice Award



MY WAY was inspired by Team A's design partner Genny who is blind. On observing their given route through Dublin, it became obvious that some parts of streetscape and routes were more accessible than others. This opened the discussion for a map of alternative routes for specific needs.

MY WAY allows users to navigate the built environment by the chosen route appropriate to their needs. It incorporates a service and portable device that is accessible to multiple users, ranging from the disabled to the able-bodied, the young to the old, the pedestrian to the cyclist, the local to the tourist and many more. It incorporates an online web service where users can input their parameters and special needs.

This service and product incorporates the following claims:

  1. My Way is portable
  2. My Way has an associated on line web service
  3. My Way intelligently stores and compares paths previously travelled
  4. My Way employs an optional rating system as you go
  5. My Way is a friendly interface for all users
  6. My Way allows for documentation and review of user routes
  7. My Way incorporates existing GPS technology with new user defined software

Read more about the 2009 24 Hour Universal Design Challenge