The Final 10 Entries of the 2016 Hackaday Prize

It has been quite a ride this year, watching entries pour in during the five challenges of the 2016 Hackaday Prize. Our yearly engineering initiative is designed to focus the skill, experience, and creativity of the world’s tinkerers, hackers, designers, and fabricators to build something that matters: things that change lives. The final ten entries, from more than 1,000, exemplify this mission.

For a brief overview of these entries, check out the videos below where we spend about ninty seconds recapping each one, along with some thoughts from the Hackaday Prize judges. These recap videos will be shown during the Hackaday Prize awards ceremony, held this Saturday during the SuperConference. I would love to invite you to attend but we’re completely sold out. You should, however, jump into the conference chat channel to talk about what’s going on, follow along with the badge crypto challenge, and hear where each entry finishes in real time as the top prizes are awarded.

2016 Hackaday Prize Finalists:

Congratulations to all ten of these finalists, who outdid themselves. Each of the 100 projects that moved past the preliminary rounds has already won $1,000, but these finalists will also be taking home one of five $5,000 prizes, two $10,000 prizes, $25,000 for the runner-up, or $150,000 plus a residency at the Supplyframe Design Lab for the winner of the Hackaday Prize. Which project is that going to be? Find out this Saturday.

Direct links to these recap videos:

22 thoughts on “The Final 10 Entries of the 2016 Hackaday Prize

      1. No. I don’t mean to detract from what the various winners and finalists of the Hackaday Prize have accomplished, but the structure of the Hackaday Prize and vague criteria for winning makes it essentially a lottery. Is Usain Bolt better than Michael Phelps? Certainly for some criteria, but if Phelps is the only one swimming and Bolt is the only one running then there isn’t a satisfying comparison to be made. I want the winner to be the best in a measurable way and for something that matters. The current Hackaday Prize feels like Phelps vs Bolt competing in blind archery. Yes, they are in the same competition now and we get a winner, and arguably one was better, but the contest is very unsatisfying.

        Competitions with clear objectives and reasonable prizes can be much more efficient and satisfying. For example, the Desktop Factory competition got international media coverage (Time, Wired, etc.) when the Lyman Filament extruder won its $40k prize. They had a reasonable prize, clear and measurable objectives, and the contest clearly led to the creation of something useful to the world. It’s a compelling story that people want to hear about.

        Hackaday originally had a clear purpose. Every day it would post one new hack, and only the best one. There were no posts about new projects that claim they are going to change the world, but only things that *actually work*. The only reason I still read Hackaday is in hope that it will return to its roots and tell me about clever things that actually work.

        If there is another Hackaday prize please consider having several smaller challenges with objective goals. For example, I bet that a $50k or $100k prize for making a $200 (actual retail price) open source pick and place machine *that actually works* would be more interesting to Hackaday readers than the current contest. Picking the right incentives and goals is hard, but with the current prize budget you could have several chances to get it right.

        1. The prize isn’t for solving a specific problem, it’s not the likes of the X-prize or a DARPA challenge, it’s a way to get people designing -something- .It’s more akin (albeit leagues more informal) to the Intel (Westinghouse) prize for general work ethic and novel development.
          It’s as a way to convince people to get projects off the back burner. Sure you could be cynical and say it’s a way to generate traffic to the *.io pages and get ad revenue, but where do you think the prize money comes from?
          If you want to solve a specific problem facing humanity, there’s probably an NSF grant or corporate prize out there for it. If you want to post a cool project that you think a few other people might find interesting, there’s the hackaday prize. After all, some projects that other wise wouldn’t get off the drawing board get funded by the smaller elimination round prizes.

          A few of the challenge rounds did have themes but the overall lack of guidance is by design so as to promote creativity.
          It’s not like you pay for the content or prize money.

        2. I agree with you, this a very disorganized price. There should be some guidance and the evaluation of the projects is very superficial. Like in 2014 when half of the judges did not know what software defined radio was.
          In this year, i think there were a lot of very simple projects like me. The contest was not that hard. And now that i see the final 10. I think that just some of them are something that matters.

  1. Congrats to the finalists!
    It was hard work, pushing limits, pushing boundaries, pumping hard science and overcharging the neurons. It was also fun. But I am still disappointed – why did not anybody care about reducing cancer? Why did not anybody care about reducing possibility of automobile accidents? Is it because the idea did not come from the right place from the right person having the right-sized business?

    1. Those things are actually hard to do and there is no incentive. If there were a prize specifically for any of those things someone would do it. With one big prize for doing whatever you want to do, not surprisingly, people do whatever they want to do.

      1. 1) So…
        a) $200,000 isn’t an incentive.
        b) You’d rather have someone tell you what to do than do what you want to do.

        2) I haven’t made an entry myself, but given that there are a limited number of prizes, I would be more willing to work on something I already wanted to do, and if it won, that would be gravy.

        Lots and lots of gravy.

        3) You could also say “not a hack” to pretty much anything that involves months of development, and where documentation counts.

        4) I would compare the Hackaday Prize more to a film festival than to a conventional engineering competition. You made something because it’s what you wanted to make, and were pleased with the results, and want to show it off to others.

  2. well done to all that have put in so much effort, and the time to document it.

    I really wish that the format of HAD projects pages could be reconsidered, I find hard to follow, or is it just me.

    1. Yeah, they’re a tough go. I’ll follow a link to a specific project, but to me trying to browse effectively through .IO is like trying to search for books at barnesandnoble.c_om (underscore inserted to prevent from showing as a URL)… it can be done, but it’s painful and it makes you want to crawl out of your skin after the first 5 minutes. Maybe not the best analogy, but there you go.

  3. Was fun participating, and ecstatic to have been chosen amongst the 100 with my obscurely-implemented project. Progress will continue, albeit maybe a bit more slowly ;)
    Perty slick videos, and great projects! Congrats all, and thanks and props to the HaD crew/judges/sponsors/etc. for making this contest possible!

  4. Wonderful projects, and excellent summary videos. I love the focus on reproducibility – most of these look doable without too much work (the hard parts have been done by the project creators) and I look forward to seeing the variations and improvements the community comes up with!

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