This is the final weekend to enter your supportive tech project in the 2021 Hackaday Prize. To goal is to find ways to make building or using electronics easier.
Accessibility is one obvious approach to this challenge. But you can also consider the example of reference designs in datasheets. Manufacturers know you don’t want to re-invent the wheel to use their switch-mode power supply so they give you information on how to lay it out on the PCB and what parts to choose. Now take that idea and run with it. This could be a modular design that takes the wizardry out of building electronic projects. But it could just as easily be a aimed at the end user — perhaps lab equipment that’s normally expensive and requires expertise to operate but you’ve reimagined it to have most of that expertise built in.
Need some more help figuring out what this is all about? Let’s look at some of the projects that have already been entered. With devices all around us that have superb cameras and dazzling screens, [Timo] realized it wouldn’t take much to turn one into an inspection microscope, which is just what’s been done with nothing more than a 3D-printed stand and a desk lamp.
[Alain] put his electronics knowledge, and the availability of cheap modules, to great use for his non-verbal son. The PECS Communication Board has a grid of sixteen images, each is a button to act as input. He makes the point that tablet apps exist for this, but durability and cost are both issues that his approach helps address.
There are already a ton of other great entries for this round of the Hackaday Prize, but it wouldn’t be complete without yours. Ten will be chosen to receive $500 each and move on to the finals with a $25,000 grand prize on the line. Start your project right now on Hackaday.io and use the left sidebar drop down menu on your project page to enter it.
Beginning right now, the 2021 Hackaday Prize challenges you to Reimagine Supportive Tech. Quite frankly, this is all about shortcuts to success. Can we make it easier for people to learn about science and technology? Can we break down some barriers that keep people from taking up DIY as a hobby (or way of life)? What can we do to build on the experience and skill of one another?
For instance, to get into building your own electronics, you need a huge dedicated electronics lab, right? Of course that’s nonsense, but we only know that because we’ve already been elbow-deep into soldering stations and vacuum tweezers. To the outsider, this looks like an unclimbable mountain. What if I told you that you could build electrics at any desk, and make it easy to store everything away in between hacking sessions? That sounds like a job for [M.Hehr’s] portable workbench & mini lab project. Here’s a blueprint that can take a beginner from zero to solder smoke while having fun along the way.
The deadline for challenge #2 of the Hackaday Prize is next Monday, July 19th:
Enter one or more of this year’s challenges for the chance to win cash prizes and move on to the finals, where our panel of judges will decide on the grand prize winner! With $25,000 on the line, and numerous other opportunities to win, there’s no reason not to enter!
Ultimately though, the Hackaday Prize isn’t about winning money. It’s about creating impactful change through the kind of hardware innovation only our amazing community can provide.
We asked you to rethink what displays can look like and you didn’t disappoint. From almost 150 entries the judges have winnowed the list down to ten projects which are awarded a $500 prize and will go on to the final round of the 2021 Hackaday Prize in October
In a world where there’s an HD (or better) display in every pocket, it is the oddball ideas that tend to turn heads. High on that list is a volumentric display that levitates a tiny foam ball on ultrasonic transducers to draw 3D color patterns before your eyes, or the volumetric display shown above that works with a sheet of film and motors. Or how about a take on a laser projected display that uses a phosphorescent screen so that the path of the laser persists, fading in time for the next infrequent update.
This is the final weekend to enter your display-related project in the 2021 Hackaday Prize. The good news is, pretty much anything that has a display on it fits the bill here.
The goal of the “Rethink Displays” challenge is to envision interesting ways to visualize data. How many times an hour do you reach for an unlock a smartphone just to get a small bit of data — current temperature, upcoming appointment, the next street to turn on, or how much time is left on your soufflé. There must be another way!
That’s where you come in! Show off us a clever way to convey meaning by choosing a display that makes sense for the type of data and power budget available. Maybe it’s an ePaper display that camouflages itself as wall art, a set of analog meters for the current weather, or a way to upcycle old displays to live on after their portable lives have ended.
This doesn’t need to be a final product. Ten entries will be selected to receive a $500 prize and move on to the final round at the end of October. So if you spend this weekend pulling together a proof of concept, and do a superb job of telling the story of what you’re building, you’ll be firmly in the running! Finalists will have plenty of time to work on completing the designs.
Tomorrow, June 2nd, is the last day to apply for the Hackaday “Dream Team” challenge:
We recognize it’s difficult to secure work in uncertain times. That’s why we have created a whole new category for the 2020 Hackaday Prize known as Dream Team Grants.
Dream Team challenges represent an opportunity to join a three-person task force. We are essentially recruiting top talent for our nonprofit partners, to help them solve some of their most pressing challenges. Each dream team member will be awarded two $3,000 grants for their work throughout the months of June and July.
Apply individually, or as a team.
When most people think of extinct species, they likely imagine prehistoric creatures such as dinosaurs or woolly mammoths. Extinction is something you read about in history books, nature’s way of removing contestants in the great game of life. It’s a product of a cruel and savage world, and outside of a few remaining fringe cases, something that humanity’s advanced technology has put a stop to.
Unfortunately, the truth is far more complicated than that. The planet is currently going through its sixth major extinction event, and this time, it’s our fault. Humanity might not be willfully destroying the natural habitats of the plants, fish, birds, and other lifeforms that have been eradicated, but we’re responsible for it just the same. Humans are an apex predator unlike any the world has ever seen before, and the only force that can stop us is ourselves.
Founded in 2015, Conservation X Labs is devoted to doing everything it can to end this sixth wave of extinction. Unsatisfied with the pace of traditional conservation, they leverage technology and open innovation to develop unique new ways of combating the damage our species has done to life on this planet. After all, it’s the only one we’ve got.
We’ve partnered with this organization to help develop solutions to some of these problems. This includes an open call challenge that anyone can enter, and a Dream Team program that you can get involved with if you act quickly. Let’s take a look at what Conservation X Labs is all about, and what is involved with the challenges at hand.
THE CHALLENGE OF HACKING THE PLANET
With such a worthy goal and their embrace of out-of-the-box thinking, Conservation X Labs was a perfect partner for the 2020 Hackaday Prize. Saving species that have become endangered by human activity requires robust real-world solutions, but if they’re to have any chance at being adopted on a large scale, they need to be deployable at minimal cost and with the least amount of disruption as possible. That can be a difficult balance for large commercial entities to strike, but it’s the sort of thing that the hacking and making community absolutely excels at.
For the 2020 Hackaday Prize, Conservation X Labs has tasked competitors with developing innovative solutions for protecting marine life and combating invasive species. Building hardware that can survive the harsh ocean environment adds an extra dimension of challenge to these entries, and we’re excited to see how the submitted designs take it into account.
According to Sam Kelly, the Conservation Technology Program Manager at Conservation X Labs and mentor for this year’s Hackaday Prize, teams that want to tackle these challenges need to plan ahead if their design is to have any chance of surviving. “Between the salt, weather, pressure, and water, any solution needs to be ready for ingress and corrosion. It is also essential to consider the potential inaccessibility of any deployed device – for both maintenance and communication.”
Teams also have to make special considerations for the end-user. If you’re developing a device that needs to be operated by fishermen on a rocking boat in the middle of the ocean, a tiny touch screen probably isn’t going to work out very well. If it’s too difficult or time consuming to operate, then in all likelihood it just won’t get used.
The last challenge of The Hackaday Prize has ended. Over the past few months, we’ve gotten a sneak peek at over a thousand amazing projects, from Open Hardware to Human Computer Interfaces. This is a contest, though, and to decide the winner, we’re tapping some of the greats in the hardware world to judge these astonishing projects.
Below are just a preview of the judges in this year’s Hackaday Prize. In the next few weeks, we’ll be sending the judging sheets out to them, tallying the results, and in just under a month we’ll be announcing the winners of the Hackaday Prize at the Hackaday Superconference in Pasadena. This is not an event to be missed — not only are we going to hear some fantastic technical talks from the hardware greats, but we’re also going to see who will walk away with the Grand Prize of $50,000.
We’re neck deep in the Hackaday Prize, and we just wrapped up the Human Computer Interface Challenge. This is an incredible contest to go beyond traditional mice and keyboards to find new ways to transfer your desires directly into a computer.
The greatest hardware competition on the planet is going on right now. The Hackaday Prize is the Oscars of Open Hardware. It’s the Nobel Prize of building a thing. It’s the Fields Medal of firmware development, and simply making it to the finals grants you a knighthood in the upper echelon of hardware developers.