Designers, Engineers and Makers to Build Hope Through Open Hardware Courtesy of 2018 Hackaday Prize

Published : Monday, March 26, 2018 | 5:51 AM

Hackaday Prize

Pasadena-based electronic design and manufacturing company Supplyframe and Digikey in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, are holding the fifth annual Hackaday Prize, a global competition that challenges makers, engineers and designers of all backgrounds to “Build Hope” through open source hardware projects.

The prize is split into five themed challenges that run five weeks each, from March 12 to October 8.

The seven-month-long contest started this with the “Open Hardware Design Challenge,” where entrants are encouraged to design the boldest plan they can dream up. Prototypes are not necessary for this challenge—only pictures, charts, and a theory are required. The Open Hardware Design Challenge runs through April 23.

The next rounds will be the “Robotics Module Challenge” from April 23 to June 4, the “Power Harvesting Challenge” from June 4 to July 16, the “Human-Computer Interface Challenge” from July 16 to August 27, and the “Innovative Musical Instrument Challenge” from August 27 to October 8.

“We’re excited to partner with Hackaday for another year of challenging inventors to be curious, creative and determined,” said David Sandys, Director of Business Ecosystem Development at Digikey. “The Hackaday Prize contest aligns with Digi-Key’s vision to encourage and enable innovation in technology that will solve problems and advance civilization. With the amazing projects we’ve seen in previous years, we can’t wait to see what the entrants create this year. ”

Twenty top entries from each challenge will be chosen to win $1,000 and will be considered for the Finals Round. The top five finalists, including the Grand Prize winner, will be announced at the Hackaday Superconference, taking place on November 2 and 3 in Pasadena.

The Grand Prize winner will win $50,000 and be considered for a residency at the Supplyframe DesignLab in Pasadena. Prizes for the second, third, fourth and fifth place winners are $20,000, $15,000, $10,000 and $5,000, respectively.

In addition to cash prizes, participants will compete for the most impressive, outlandish and otherwise notable projects. Examples of possible achievements include the Diva Plavalaguna Achievement for the most unexpected musical instrument, the Sonic Screwdriver Achievement for hacks that seemingly do everything, and the Ender’s Achievement for the most incredible student submission.

For 2018, the panel of judges includes the best and brightest in the engineering and maker communities, such as Sherry Huss, co-creator of Maker Faire; Mark Rober, a former NASA engineer and incredibly popular YouTuber; and Danielle Applestone, CEO of Bantam Tools.

In 2017, the Hackaday Grand Prize went to Alex Williams, who invented the Open Source Underwater Glider, a low-cost autonomous glider capable of long-term underwater exploration of submarine environments.

Previous winners include the creators of the 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.

Individuals or teams from the U.S. and other countries are eligible to enter. Universities, colleges, hackerspaces, and startups are strongly encouraged to take part, as are young hackers.

Applicants must be 13 years of age or over to participate.

The official rules for the 2018 Hackaday Prize can be found at

You may also follow contest news on Twitter at @hackaday or #HackadayPrize.

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