Hackaday Prize Official Rules Update

We have made a change to the Official Rules of the 2017 Hackaday Prize that removes a potential ambiguity in the language. This section details the Announcement of the Challenge Round Results for Challenge Round 2 finalists. The correct language is as follows:

ii. On or around June 19, 2017, Sponsor will select up to twenty (20) Challenge Round 2 submissions to advance to the Final Round based on the six (6) evenly-weighted criteria above.

This section is now consistent with the existing language for the other four challenges. It is important to disclose changes to the official rules which is why we’re publishing this article today.

The Hackaday Prize is our global engineering initiative that challenges hackers, designers, and engineers to build something that matters. With over $250,000 in prizes, this summer is a great time to direct your creative energy toward engineering for social good. Right now we’re looking for things that move humanity forward with the Wings, Wheels, and Walkers challenge. Also in progress right now is the Best Product part of the Hackaday Prize which tells the tale of what goes into product engineering and building a community and a company around your creations. As we progress into the summer we’re looking forward to Assistive Technology, and Anything Goes challenges. Enter now!

Wings, Wheels, and Walkers that Move Humanity Forward

Rise to the challenge of building Wings, Wheels, and Walkers. Today, we begin the search for things that move and make the world a little bit better place. This is the first day of a new round in the 2017 Hackaday Prize and your renewed opportunity to show us what you’ve got.

We just closed off the IuT ! IoT round, a more inward focused challenge which called for builds that added meaningful connectivity to devices in our lives. With the Wings, Wheels, and Walkers challenge we turn our gaze outward to see what you can do build that really moves.

There is so much that falls into this category; personal transport, robotic assist, automated delivery, airborne agriculture — anything that moves or supports movement. Many of the finalists and winners from the past few years fall into this category. In 2015 the Light Utility Electric Vehicle won 3rd place, and of course the grand prize winner that year was a wheelchair-based system. In 2016 we saw a shoreline debris clearing robot and a modular robot system took the top spot. Now we want to see even more creations that move humanity forward.

The Hackaday Prize is a global engineering initiative that seeks out ideas and creations that have the power to do social good. Show off your creation and you’ve already accomplished that and inspired others to do the same. Many of the entries will be recognized beyond that. This year’s cash prizes total more than $250,000. Just for this challenge (which ends on July 24th) we’ll award 20 entries $1000 each. At the end of all six rounds, 6 of the 120 finalists will be selected to receive $50k, $30k, $20k, $15k, $10k, and $5k. Enter now!

Check out all of the entries so far, and keep your on Hackaday to find out the twenty finalists from the IuT ! IoT round, an announcement due in about a week.

Mini Delta 3D Printer in Action at the Monoprice Booth

When I was at Bay Area Maker Faire a few weekends ago I stopped by the Monoprice booth to chat with [Chris Apland], their head of 3D Printing. Earlier in the week, the company had just announced preorders for their new $169 delta-style 3D printer called the MP Mini Delta.

[Brian Benchoff] covered that launch and I don’t have a lot of details about the machine itself to add. I saw it in action, printing tiny waving cat models. The stock printer can use ABS or PLA and has a build volume of 110mm in diameter and 120mm tall and these preorder units (being sold through Indegogo) will begin shipping in August.

What was of interest is to hear the shipping estimates the Monoprice team is throwing around. Chris told me that their conservative estimate is that 20,000 of these printers will ship through this preorder, but he is optimistic that by the end of the fourth quarter they’ll be closer to 100,000 units. That is incredible.

Part of the promise here is the out of the box functionality; [Chris] mentioned having a printed cat in your hands within 5 minutes. If it can actually do that without the need for setup and calibration that’s impressive. But I know that even seasoned printing veterans are interested in seeing how fast they can run this tiny delta and still turn out quality prints.

You’ll find the video interview after the break.

Continue reading “Mini Delta 3D Printer in Action at the Monoprice Booth”

Show Us Your Internet of Useful Things by Monday

Don’t forget to get your connected device entered in the Hackaday Prize by Monday morning. The current challenge is IuT ! IoT, a clever tilt at the Internet of Things, which is so hot right now. We don’t just want things to connect, we want that connection to be useful, so save your Internet Toasters and Twittering Toilets for another round.

So what are we looking for here? Any device that communicates with something else and thereby performs a service that has meaningful value. The Hackaday Prize is about building something that matters.

We’ve been covering a lot of great entries. HeartyPatch is an open source heart rate monitor and ECG that communicates through a smart phone. We’ve seen an affordable water level measuring station to help track when water levels are rising dangerously fast in flood prone areas. And the heads-up display for multimeters seeks to make work safer for those dealing with high voltages. Get inspired by all of the IuT ! IoT entries.

There’s $20,000 at stake in this challenge alone, as twenty IuT projects will be named finalists, awarded $1000 each, and move on to compete for the top prizes in the finals.

If you don’t have your project up on Hackaday.io yet, now’s the time. Once your project is published, entering is as easy as using the dropdown box on the left sidebar of your project page. [Shulie] even put together a quick video showing how to submit your entry. Check to make sure “Internet of Useful Things” is listed on your project’s sidebar and if not, use that dropdown to add it.

Self-Driving RC Cars with TensorFlow; Raspberry Pi or MacBook Onboard

You might think that you do not have what it takes to build a self-driving car, but you’re wrong. The mistake you’ve made is assuming that you’ll be controlling a two-ton death machine. Instead, you can give it a shot without the danger and on a relatively light budget. [Otavio] and [Will] got into self-driving vehicles using radio controlled (RC) cars.

[Otavio] slapped a MacBook Pro on an RC car to do the heavy lifting and called it carputer. The computer reads Hall effect sensor data from the motor to establish distance traveled (this can be used to calculate speed) and watches the stream from a webcam perched on the chassis. These two sources are fed into a neural network using TensorFlow. You train the system by driving the vehicle manually through the course a few times and then let it drive itself.

In the video interview below, you get a look at the car and [Otavio] gives commentary on how the system works as we see playback of a few races, including the Sparkfun 2016 Autonomous Vehicle Competition. I apologize for the poor audio, they lost the booth lottery and were next door to an incredibly noisy robot band (video proof) so we were basically shouting at each other. But I think you’ll agree it’s worth it to get a look at the races. Continue reading “Self-Driving RC Cars with TensorFlow; Raspberry Pi or MacBook Onboard”

Intel’s Vision for Single Board Computers is to Have Better Vision

At the Bay Area Maker Faire last weekend, Intel was showing off a couple of sexy newcomers in the Single Board Computer (SBC) market. It’s easy to get trapped into thinking that SBCs are all about simple boards with a double-digit price tag like the Raspberry Pi. How can you compete with a $35 computer that has a huge market share and a gigantic community? You compete by appealing to a crowd not satisfied with these entry-level SBCs, and for that Intel appears to be targeting a much higher-end audience that needs computer vision along with the speed and horsepower to do something meaningful with it.

I caught up with Intel’s “Maker Czar”, Jay Melican, at Maker Faire Bay Area last weekend. A year ago, it was a Nintendo Power Glove controlled quadcopter that caught my eye. This year I only had eyes for the two new computing modules on offer, the Joule and the Euclid. They both focus on connecting powerful processors to high-resolution cameras and using a full-blown Linux operating system for the image processing. But it feels like the Joule is meant more for your average hardware hacker, and the Euclid for software engineers who are pointing their skills at robots but don’t want to get bogged down in first-principles of hardware. Before you rage about this in the comments, let me explain.

Continue reading “Intel’s Vision for Single Board Computers is to Have Better Vision”

These Engineering Ed Projects are Our Kind of Hacks

Highly polished all-in-one gear for teaching STEM is one way to approach the problem. But for some, they can be intimidating and the up-front expenditure can be a barrier to just trying something before you’re certain you want to commit. [Miranda] is taking a different approach with the aim of making engineering education possible with junk you have around the house. The point is to play around with engineering concepts with having to worry about doing it exactly right, or with exactly the right materials. You know… hacking!

Continue reading “These Engineering Ed Projects are Our Kind of Hacks”