Robots, Wearables, Renewable Energy, Oh My: The Winners of the 2018 Hackaday Prize Announced in Pasadena

Published : Friday, November 16, 2018 | 5:44 AM

An open source robotic arm that is trainable by the human hand – an ability that is uncommon even in commercial robotics – won first place in the 2018 Hackaday Prize, and was recognized along with the other winners at the recent 2018 Hackaday Superconference in Pasadena.

The nine-month competition of competitive technology innovation that’s also called the Academy Awards of Open Hardware attracted nearly 1,000 entries in five challenges, with 100 making it to the finals.

The robotic arm, Dexter, submitted by Las Vegas-based Haddington Dynamics, was selected as the $50,000 Grand Prize winner among the semifinalists. Haddington Dynamics co-founders Kent Gilson and Todd Enerson received the prize from Hackaday during the Superconference, which took place November 2 to 4 at the Supplyframe Design Lab in Pasadena.

Hackaday gave away over $200,000 in prizes to the winning entries.

The second place winner, with a $20,000 prize, was Hacking Wearables for Mental Health, by New York-based hacker Curt White, who modified the entry from a cheap fitness tracker to develop mental health services for the Child Mind Institute nonprofit.

Third place went to Vijay Varada, based in Bangalore, India, whose entry, Portal Point Generator, received a prize of $15,000. The entry is a 3D printable generator used to harness wind-energy during an Antarctic expedition.

The fourth prize, $10,000, went to David Prutchi for his entry EmotiGlass, a wearable device that uses augmented reality to aid stress and anxiety in the user.

Fifth place was PR-HOlonet, a disaster-area emergency communications system made by survivors of the recent Hurricane Maria to prevent future communication shortages across the world. The entry was submitted by Hadi Esiely.

“There is simply no better activity that challenges the engineering community to channel creativity, passion, and innovation into creating a better and more sustainable future,” David Sandys, Director, Business Ecosystem Development at Digi-Key, said. “Each year the Hackaday Prize entrants raise the bar even further, and it’s simply astounding to us to see how they implement the technology and solutions we provide in new and imaginative ways.”

“No task or problem is too big,” said YouTube sensation Colin Furze, who acted as one of the Hackaday Prize judges. “People are looking at huge things you wouldn’t think you would attempt as a DIY person, and they’ve said, ‘No, I think we can have a crack at this!’”

The other judges in the competition included YouTube creators Mark Rober and Chris Clickspring, technical founders Maddy Maxey, Ayah Bdeir, Sherry Huss, Danielle Applestone, Eben Upton, and Chris Anderson; tech artist Lauren McCarthy; and the brilliant engineers Kwabena Agyeman Kristin Paget, Quinn Dunki, Anool Mahidharia, Kipp Bradford, and Mitch Altman.

For a full description of the entries, visit
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