Hackaday's Automation Challenge Seeks Devices to Make Lives Easier

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The online community of 150,000 engineers, hackers and creatives are designing projects that "automate your life" while competing for prizes that include a residency at the Supplyframe Design Lab.

Build something that matters

Hackaday's online community of engineers, hackers and creatives are building devices that will make their lives easier – a device that makes breakfast, a robot to mow the lawn, or a way to automate washing the dishes -- as part of Automation, the fourth challenge in the 2016 Hackaday Prize hardware competition. The challenge is underway and concludes Aug. 22.

Contestants post their project logs (vision, prototype and explanation of ideas) on Hackaday.io. The top 20 projects will each win $1,000 and move on to the Hackaday Prize finals for a chance to win $150K and a residency at the Supplyframe DesignLab in Pasadena, Calif.

Some Automation projects are whimsical; a lot of discovery happens when having fun with interesting ideas.

Want a perfectly crafted coffee ready for you in the time it takes to walk to the kitchen? Check out Mugsy, a Raspberry Pi and Arduino-controlled coffee making robot by Matt Argyle. The project has easter eggs that include RGB lighting, built-in speakers and “a secret speakeasy ready to drop a little whiskey into your coffee if you know the codeword.”

Some builds address more serious problems.

Voting issues plague the USA in every election. Long lines, closed polls, broken machines, polling sites that open late and incomplete voter rolls among some of the issues reported every election cycle.

Shpat Morina's Qubie, a small wireless device that measures waiting time at a polling place, was deployed for the first time during the California primary and logged (anonymously) more than 30,000 wifi contacts.

But all Automation entries aim to ask and answer the question of how we can do more with less effort.

The five 2016 Hackaday Prize challenges are: Design Your Concept (March 14-April 15), Anything Goes (April 25-May 30), Citizen Scientist (May 30-July 11), Automation (July 11-Aug. 22) and Assistive Technologies (Aug. 22-Oct. 3)

The Hackaday Prize is made possible by Atmel, Microchip, Digi-Key and Supplyframe.

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Sophi Kravitz
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