Some of these challenges are for volunteers and others have funding or prizes associated with them. All are intended to inspire and guide people who would like to work on key issues.

The challenges are particularly good for student projects, either as individuals or as teams. All are needed and provide an opportunity to carry our academic work that will really mean something if you are successful.


Short task (no more than a week to execute) that might or might not have a prize

  • The MasterList contains information on access techniques and approaches for all known barriers and disability categories. This includes techniques found in commercial software and hardware, free software, research prototypes, etc.

    Award: $5 per technique accepted


These are projects that require ingenuity and creativity. Sometimes they call for someone to do something for the first time. Sometimes they look for a better or best implementation. Awards are associated with some of these.

  • The US Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology is challenging multidisciplinary teams to create and test a module or application that makes it easy for disabled consumers to access and interact with the health data stored in their EHRs. 

    Award: $60,000 prize

  • Awards for making any AT or mainstream product GPII compatible.

    Award: Be part of RtF-I's list of solutions

  • The Trace Center created a Photosensitive Epilepsy Analysis Tool (PEAT) that can analyze web and software to detect visual events that are known to cause seizures. This prize is for the creation of a “clean room” open source version of the tool.

  • The development of an PDF reader that is typographically oriented and has features that allow users to change the visual presentation of the text including enlargement, reflow, text search, and other accessible features without loss of information.

  • Language translators are currently able to translate from complex languages into other languages that have fewer words and simpler syntax and grammar.  This project would develop the ability to translate between standard written English and a simpler form of English that has a restricted vocabulary and grammar.

    • Challenge 1 is to create a piece of software that can be installed in a display (or box connected to a display) that will monitor the signal coming in to the display, detect visual events that are known to trigger a seizure, and alter the signal to remove that stimulus.
    • Challenge 2 is to create a pair of glasses that can monitor the environment for seizure inducing visual events, detect them, and then modify what the user sees in order to reduce or eliminate the seizure inducing event.

Grand Challenges

These are major endeavors to achieve something that has never been done – and it is not clear how to do achieve it. These can vary in difficulty (though all are difficult) and in type of reward. Some have no reward but are just a challenge thrown down to see if someone can solve them.

  • The development of a software robot that can view any webpage or computer screen and create a semantic model of all of the information there sufficient to represent it to a user in a functioning and equivalent interface of another form.   The robot can use keyboard or mouse to explore the screen.

  • The development of an under $1000 pen that can scan 270 to 360 degrees and detect all text in the environment, its distance and size, and present it to a blind user in a cogent fashion.  It can also locate text the user specifies and provide direction and distance for any text specified.

  • Demonstration of translation of english text into sign language with fingerspelling used only as it would be for an experienced interpreter – and display of the signs on screen by a photorealistic avatar.