2015 RedBull Creation Ends with Flaming Tire Swing of Death

Holy *#$&. That just about sums up the 2015 RedBull Creation Competition. It was fantastic. Where else could you ride a gasoline engine powered tire-swing-of-death, complete with fireball launcher? Well… maybe Burning Man…

Anyway, was it a hackathon? No, this was a build-a-thon. A few Arduinos and Atmel’s may have been used, but the majority of the projects were serious mechanical marvels. The teams had 72 hours to compete, with the very broad theme of “Serious Fun”.

And did they make some serious fun. From human-sized hamster wheels, to glass smashing recycling machines, and even an arcade style carnival game housed in a dumpster, not one team had a similar idea about Serious Fun. It was awesome.

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2015 RedBull Creation Competition is Underway!

I’m here as a judge at the 2015 RedBull Creation Competition in Detroit — it’s a super intense 72 hour build off where makers, engineers, and artists can come to show us what they’ve got. This year’s theme is pretty broad: Serious Fun.

The event is at Recycle Here and is open to the public, so if you’re in the area, come check it out! A massive recycling depot warehouse has been temporarily transformed into a giant workshop. Teams have access to some serious tools including heavy duty welding equipment, industrial forming tools like pipe benders, brake presses, your standard drill presses, cutting equipment and of course laser cutters and 3D printers.

There are two competition categories — Open Class, which was free for anyone to join with a team, and Invite Only. The six Invite Only teams are working in the Recycle Here workshop, and the teams competing in the open category are scattered across the city, making use of their own workshops or hackerspaces. The theme was only just announced yesterday, and the 72 hour countdown has been ticking away ever since.  I can’t wait to see what awesome interactive projects can be built in time to show off to the public this weekend.

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RedBull Creation 2013: final thoughts and recap

I have arrived home safely, and I’ll spare you the long and boring story of how horribly my airline experiences were, both directions. The contest was delightful. Not only did I get to watch the teams compete, I got to meet people that I’ve wanted to meet for a long time.  The judges and shop monitors were a delight to talk with and work with. There are some great daily recap videos on the creation website, but I can’t embed them.

You’re probably wondering who won. Well, that was announced after I left. The public hadn’t even begun to vote on people’s choice (we weren’t even finished building the sign with the voting buttons!).

The judges were from all different areas of expertise. We had a form to fill out for each project that had several different values. There was functionality, aesthetics, resourcefulness, and some other stuff I can’t remember right now. [Greg] put together the criteria and I think he did a fantastic job at making the judging fair and balanced.

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Causing trouble at RedBull Creation 2013

Skullduggery systems (a first time participant) came up with an extremely ambitious idea for their instrument. It was to be a jug, that would have a changing pitch based on water being pumped in and out. Ultimately, they ran into a few issues that meant that the effect wasn’t quite what they were looking for. They shouldn’t feel too bad, a bunch of teams didn’t succeed in making things the first year they participated.

What their instrument did do, however, I found simply delightful. The jug sounded just like feedback from the sound system. The contest was happening during a big music festival called the NorthSide festival.  There was a stage and a huge crowd most of the time.  They were testing their jug and we noticed that the band on stage (with a full crowd at the time), had stopped playing and was checking all their equipment. The sound guys were running around like crazy. They thought they were getting feedback.

We held off for a while and decided we would wait till sound checks to mess with them. While we wanted to cause trouble, we didn’t want to ruin the show for an entire crowd.  As you can see in the video, the sound is very much like feedback. They would begin to play, then stop to track down this mysterious feedback. We even tricked [Tyler] the announcer that was talking over our local sound system in the Redbull tent (by accident, I assure you).

The secret projects at the RedBull Creation Challenge

You’ve all already seen that there are 6 teams making some kind of a musical instrument. However, there are two more projects that have materialized out of nowhere and are looking like a lot of fun.

In the shop, there are “Shop Monitors”, artists and hackers who are here to help the teams get stuff built. There are also the judges. Since all of us have some experience and craving for making things, you can imagine that no one is just twiddling their thumbs.

[Greg] the lead judge has taken this opportunity to play with the plasma cutter and various metal working tools and is making a voting system so that the public can walk up and hit a button to vote on their favorite. Yup, those are easy buttons you see there. This thing is shaping up to be pretty nice looking thanks to that cutting machine and [Greg’s] hard work.

[JoeJoe], the guy who built the turbull incabulator is building “piss bot”, an inside joke turning to reality. Pissbot  will literally just freak out and urinate all over. Don’t ask why, ask why not.

RedBull creation update: Fantastic videos from the welder company!

As I’ve been wandering around today, I saw a couple people filming all day. They were crawling on their bellies, climbing things, and doing interviews. It isn’t that surprising till I found out they’re from Lincoln Electric, the company that supplied the plasma cutter and the welders.

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Hackaday at the Redbull Creation Challenge: The teams begin to build

After a long day sitting around airports watching one flight after another get cancelled due to the storm in New York, I finally made it. Unfortunately I missed the entire first day, but luckily RedBull put out a recap of Day1. They also have a live feed if you want to check in.

I got a chance to run around this morning and check everything out. The 6 teams are already in the heat of competition, rushing to get their musical instrument built before the time runs out.

I apologize ahead of time for the noise. I don’t have a better microphone for this environment. I’ll do my best to try to pull them into a quieter area if I’m going to talk to them in the future. Also I can now see that the footage is over exposed. I’ll fix that, though you can see the gallery of pictures turned out well.

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