Hackaday Prize Changes World for Fourth Year

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The competition features a new technical design challenge every 5 weeks and honors engineers, inventors and tinkerers whose innovations make an extraordinary impact on peoples' lives.

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The fourth annual Hackaday Prize, which aims to expand the frontiers of knowledge and engineering while innovating to make an extraordinary impact on peoples’ lives, launches today. Sponsored by Digi-Key and Microchip, the competition features a new technical design challenge every 5 weeks and awards thousands in cash prizes to engineers, inventors and tinkerers who “build something that matters.”

The first round of the competition is “Design Your Concept” in which entrants present a problem and pitch an answer that will change the world. They will be judged on how they map out their theories and concepts via hacks, logs, drawings and diagrams.

The remaining rounds are “Internet of Useful Things,” “Wheels, Wings and Walkers” (projects that move), “Assistive Technology” and “Anything Goes.”

“We sought input on the challenge from Digi-Key, a friend to the maker community for many years,” says electronics engineer and tech-artist Sophi Kravitz, Supplyframe’s director of product. Digi-Key is the exclusive electronic components distributor sponsor of the Hackaday Prize.

“We decided to come back with the five rounds of challenges based on their input, coupled with the fact that last year’s competition attracted nearly 1,100 submissions,” Kravitz says.

A bonus round, Best Product, will run simultaneously during the entire competition. It also starts today.

Twenty projects will be chosen from each of the 6 rounds, and awarded $1,000 per project. At the end of all 6 rounds, 120 projects in total will advance to the finals during which 6 top prizes will be awarded, totaling $250,000: $50K (grand prize), $30K (Best Product prize), $20K (second prize), $15K (third prize), $10K (fourth prize) and $5K (fifth prize).

In addition, the winner/winning team of the grand prize project will be interviewed and considered for a residency in the Supplyframe DesignLab to further develop their project.

Hackaday previously awarded the grand prize to the inventors of Eyedrivomatic, a device that allows wheelchair users to drive the wheelchair with just their eyes, and Dtto, a modular self-reconfigurable robot designed for all-terrain search and rescue operations.

The 2017 Hackaday Prize judges represent the best of the best of the engineering and maker communities, including inventor, maker and robotics enthusiast Simone Giertz, educator and engineer Christal Gordon and hacker and TV-B-Gone inventor Mitch Altman.

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