EAAI Mentored Undergraduate Research Challenge:
AI for Accessibility in Communication

Challenge Details

  • The purpose of the mentored undergraduate research challenge is to provide undergraduate students exposure to the complete research life-cycle through the guidance of a mentor familiar with the research life-cycle. The research life-cycle includes all the steps from identifying a problem, to hypothesizing solutions, to implementation and experimentation, to ultimately reporting results in a written publication.
  • Participating teams will submit a manuscript of their research project for peer review at the EAAI-24 Symposium, which is collocated with AAAI-24. Teams with accepted papers will have their submission published and presented at the EAAI-24 Symposium.
  • Research challenge teams must include:
    • At least one undergraduate (including community college) student,
    • At least one mentor (faculty or with a Ph.D.),
    • Anyone else, but the undergraduate student must be involved in the majority of the research and the mentor must provide regular guidance to the team.
  • The objective of this year's challenge is to perform and publish research on AI for accessbility in communication. The project should be doable within one semester or summer---be sure to keep the project simple and doable, addressing a single question if your problem is large. There are many possible projects in this understudied area of research; some examples include, but are not limited to:
    • Augmented and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices that generate information on behalf of people with trouble speaking, typing, or communicating,
    • Present information to people who are visually and/or hearing impaired,
    • Translate content (with respect to language and/or culture) for others to understand it,
    • Showcase content creators' works to interested persons who might not find it normally,
    • Effective communication of ideas, such as summarizing documents or addressing buzzwords,
    • And more! Check out Project Ideas below to get some inspiration.
  • An introduction to this year's challenge can be found in an upcoming arXiv preprint.
  • Timeline:
    • Submission deadlines and the peer review timeline will follow those at EAAI 2024. Paper submissions must:
    • Accepted papers will be presented at EAAI 2024 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on February 24 or 25, 2024.
      • Submission Deadline: September 10, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. UTC-12 (anywhere on Earth)
      • Paper Notification: December 9, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. UTC-12 (anywhere on Earth)
      • EAAI 2024: Februrary 24 and 25, 2023


  • If you have a team who is interested in participating, then please contact Rick Freedman (rfreedman at sift dot net) with:
    • Team member names,
    • Team member e-mail addresses, and
    • Note who are the undergraduate(s) and mentor(s) on the team.
  • Why register your team?
    • Non-commital: registration is not a requirement to participate, but it lets the organizers know your team is considering participation.
    • "Customer service": if your team has any questions about the challenge, then we can do our best to answer them.
    • Updates: we can send teams updates about the challenge, including new resources, timeline changes, and deadline reminders.
    • Program committee: to provide peer reviews to all submissions, we need to form a program committee of researchers familiar with undergraduate research. If we can estimate the number of submissions, then we can make sure our program committee is large enough to avoid reviewing delays. It would be appreciated, but not required, if team mentors are also willing to serve on the program committee and review other teams' submissions---there is no conflict-of-interest because this is a challenge for undergraduates to experience the complete research life-cycle, not a competition for the best research.


We plan to share more resources as they become available. If you have any relevant resources that you recommend, then please send them to Rick Freedman (rfreedman at sift dot net) for consideration. Disclaimer: None of these resources are endorsements or advertisements. The organizers identified these as useful materials and are sharing them for educational benefit.


Many references are listed in the arXiv preprint for this year's challenge, but additional resources about both the topic and undergraduate research are listed below:


The challenge this year involves making technologies accessible. However, teams with a focus in artificial intelligence are not expected to have a background in accessibility. To learn about accessibility concepts for the challenge, here are some basic resources to get started.

Project Ideas

Far from a complete list of things a team could research, but the first step in the research life-cycle is to observe the world and come up with some questions you want to answer. Check out the videos below for some related research projects and video-inspired questions to get started brainstorming. What will your team investigate?

  • For which of these 10 web accessibility perspectives can AI play a facilitating role?
  • Verbal Victor is a smartphone application developed at Wake Forest University that generates speech clips for communication when the user presses a button displaying the concept. What would an AI system for software like Verbal Victor need to understand about its users?

    Verbal Victor from Christina Lopez on Vimeo.

  • When can AI aid someone who needs to access visual information?
  • How can an AI system effectively portray sound and music to individuals who have hearing impairments?
  • What can an AI system do to interpret rhythm, emotion, and other musical properties performed without sound?
  • Where can an AI system help communicate information about what is going on to people playing a videogame?
  • How can AI help musicians communicate the existence of their works to people in other countries who might access different websites?


Past EAAI Mentored Undergraduate Research Challenge Topics: