The Quorum Team (Las Vegas, NV)

Champion for Computer Science - Accessibility

The idea for the Quorum Programming Language, an evidence-oriented language for blind and visually-impaired learners, came from a ballroom dancing lesson. “The professor was blind,” says Andreas Stefik, Quorum’s creator, “and the fact that he was in this 3D space was really fascinating to me.”

“It got me thinking about it,” he says, “and that was enough.”

The current Quorum team.
Current Quorum team members.

The Quorum programming language is a "born accessible" programming ecosystem, Stefik explains, meaning it was accessible from its formation and has accessibility as a primary design goal. It has a diverse standard library for LEGO robotics programming, digital signal processing, 2D/3D graphics, physics simulations, 3D positional audio, networking, mobile, and other areas - all of which have been made accessible.

In 2009, while researching the programs and languages on offer, Stefik found there was nothing for people who were blind or visually impaired. Along with his wife, Stefik, who was also inspired by his previous work as a musician, worked for three years to build the first version of Quorum. Now, he has nine people on his team and Quorum is at version six. And while it began as a tool for blind and visually-impaired learners, today there are thousands of people using it for a range of purposes. More than 300,000 programs have been created using Quorum.

Team members working on an accessibile LEGO robotics kit.
Team members working on an accessibile LEGO robotics kit.

Stefik and his team plan to continue iterating on Quorum, and specifically hope to make highly graphical content more accessible for blind and visually-impaired learners.

“You can code a bunny jumping on cellphone, but how do you communicate the end result?” he says. “We’re tackling that part, and it’s a really hard problem to solve.”

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