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[liberationtech] Wits Campus Personal Navigator Challenge – Tshimologong
ycompanys at gmail.com
Mon Feb 20 18:11:43 PST 2017
Wits Campus Personal Navigator Challenge
Wits University’s Disability Rights Unit (DRU) assists over 1000
students and staff with a broad range of disabilities. Through the
DRU, Wits has led the way amongst South African universities in making
a broad range of university degrees accessible to disabled students.
About a third of those registered with the DRU are physically or
visually impaired. While Wits University’s campuses meet very high
standards of accessibility for those with disabilities, it remains
difficult for some disabled students to navigate around Wits.
The Wits Campus Personal Navigator Challenge aims to develop
innovative systems that will increase the independence of students
with visual and physical disabilities by providing them with a
“personal navigator” around Wits’ vast campuses. The system should be
able to safely guide a visually impaired or a physically impaired
student from one location to another by using predefined safe
accessible routes. The inaccuracy of commercially available GPS
navigation systems is well documented and need to be augmented.
The system could be a simple standalone device that attaches to a
walking cane or wheelchair or be a wearable device (e.g. wristband).
This unique navigation system may work independently or in conjunction
with relevant existing and/or future systems (software, apps, maps,
etc.) to provide visual/audible directions and information to the
student. To do this the proposed system might use multiple sensors
installed at key points on campus which will provide location
information and alerts to the base unit installed on a walking cane/
In addition, it might be possible to add on to the extensive Google
Maps of the Wits campuses that already exist and develop the system
further to allow broader use by the rest of the University community.
Apart from coming up with an innovative solution those entering the
challenge will be assisted in turning their idea into a viable
How it works
Submit an entry: If you have an innovative idea of how you could solve
the Wits Campus Personal Navigator Challenge, complete the entry form
via the link below and upload a 2-minute video clip telling us about
yourself, your team and your idea.
Briefing session: The top 100 entries will be selected and will be
invited to a 4-hour Briefing Session at Wits University’s Tshimologong
Digital Innovation Precinct in Braamfontein Johannesburg. At the
Briefing Session entrants will be given additional information by the
Wits Disability Rights Unit. Useful technical information will also be
presented by experts in various fields. Part of the session will also
cover tips on “how to refine an idea” and “how to prepare a pitch”.
Hackathon and Pitching session: The top 100 entrants will be invited
to participate in a weekend-long Hackathon. They will be guided
through the process of developing a conceptual prototype and a
business model canvas. At the end of the Hackathon each entrant will
present a 10-minute pitch to a panel of expert judges. The 10 top
ideas will be selected.
Pre-incubation: The Top-10 entrants will be given 3 months’ membership
of the Tshimologong Precinct incubation programme. They will each be
assigned a mentor and given access to a range of facilities, expert
advisors and resources. They will use this time to develop a working
prototype of their Personal Navigator and will refine their business
Demo Day: Each of the Top-10 entrants will be demonstrate their
prototype and pitch their idea to a panel of judges. Three winners
will be selected.
Incubation: All 3 winners will receive an additional 7 months of
membership in the Tshimologong Precinct incubation programme. One of
these winning teams will be given the opportunity to send 2 members
for 4 weeks to one of the Tshimologong Precinct’s international
partner hubs. These hubs are in Canada, USA, Netherlands, UK and
India. While resident at one of these hubs the team members will
receive various types of support and will have opportunities to refine
and expand their solution and business model.
Terms and Conditions
The Wits Campus Personal Navigator Challenge is open to all. It is not
limited to Wits students.
Entrants are encouraged to work in small teams of up to 4 members,
although individuals will be allowed to enter.
At least 1 member of the team must be a South African citizen.
At least 1 member of the team must live in the Greater Johannesburg
area and must be available to attend all face-to-face sessions as
listed under “key dates” below.
The decisions of the judges are final.
Membership of the Tshimologong Precinct is subject to the standard
rules of the Precinct. Membership can be terminated if entrants fail
to meet agreed progress targets.
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