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Microsoft's mission to code for all

A massive annual hackathon at Microsoft's headquarters surfaces new ideas.

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James Martin

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1 of 27 James Martin/CNET

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella listens to a group of employees describe their project at the company's annual hackathon in Redmond, Washington. Microsoft calls the event the "largest private hackathon on the planet." 

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The massive gathering of coders takes place on the company's campus in three air conditioned tents, each the size of a football field.

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It's a sprawling festival-like atmosphere, where thousands of programmers -- in row after row of tables, laptops and wires -- brainstorm and bring their ideas to life.

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Projects range from art and design concepts to word processing, financial tools and accessibility products.

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella bounces ideas with one of the coders.

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Groups huddle together exchanging ideas in a fast-paced, free-form hacker think tank.

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Teams gather around whiteboards and monitors to conceptualize their projects.

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This view gives some idea of the size of one of the tents. 

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A T-shirt from Microsoft's accessibility team.

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Nadella stops to chat with a programmer to hear about her accessibility project.

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One of the massive tents housing the hackathon on the Microsoft campus states a simple goal of the work inside. "Hack For Good."

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More teams at Microsoft's hackathon. 

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A whiteboard displays one team's thoughts on a project to use the Xbox and its new Adaptive Controller for broader medical applications.

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Here's one way to give programmers a sugar rush. 

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A group huddles around a monitor to look at the results of their work.

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One of the official mascots of the event. This year, Microsoft used Transformers-inspired characters.

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Some groups prefer to work outside, in fresh air. 

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CEO Satya wanders through the tents to hear employees' ideas and see what they're working on.

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Supplies stations throughout the event provide wires, clips, pens and paper.

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A vision impaired programmer touches the monitor with his face so he can read his code.

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Nadella listens to a team describe their project on digital tattoos .

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This is a proof-of-concept example of the digital tattoo project.

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These tiny robot toys were an in-demand souvenir at the hackathon.

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A real-world example of Microsoft's goal of inclusivity and accessibility.

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More teams hard at work on their ideas.

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Rows and rows of laptops, wires and monitors. 

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Teams of all sizes came together in Redmon. 

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