Why Should You Enter The Hackaday Prize? Because [Ben Heck] Says So.

[Ben Heck] is well-known in the circles we frequent for being a consummate modder, tinkerer, builder, and hacker. We’ve seen his XBox 360 laptops, portabalized PS3s, the ultimate glue gun, and shutter shades that are too cool for [Kanye]. Now he’s telling us about something else that’s really cool – The Hackaday Prize.

All you need to be in the running for prizes that range from a thousand dollars in electronic components to milling machines to a trip to space is build a project that is open, connected (smoke signals count), and documented on hackaday.io. Think you don’t have time to submit an entry before the first round cutoff next week? You’re wrong. You can sit down and hit all the requirements in an hour. All you need is an idea at this point, and you have until November to actually build it.

Talking to Hackaday readers IRL gives us the impression that a lot of you have an idea for something cool and spaceworthy, but you just need a kick in the pants to write it down and start building it. Here it is. Go.

25 thoughts on “Why Should You Enter The Hackaday Prize? Because [Ben Heck] Says So.

  1. Some of us are wondering, why the device has to be “connected” (rules say so)? This throws out so many possibilities. Example: electric car or bike, standalone computer or calculator, radar, cnc machine etc. They can be connected, but that is very far from their primary purpose.

    1. Yes. The answer is yes to all of those. If you can justify to yourself that a project is connected, it’s connected.

      The example I’ve been using is, ‘a serial port’. If your project has a UART, you’re good. I *do* like Ben’s example of smoke signals, though. I’m surprised no one has tried to really push the boundaries of what we’re calling ‘connected’.

      1. If people are going to ignore the spirit of the theme why have it as a requirement at all? Pretty much any project will have wires “connecting” different parts or even mechanical power transmission like gears or levers that connect things.

  2. Some of us are actually put their idea on hackaday.io. There are probably 500 projects on there already. There is no objective measure of making to the next round. Feedback only comes in two forms: Jasmine or Adam commenting on your project, or Mike, Brian or another editor venerating a project on the front page. Are those venerated projects already shoe-ins? you don’t know. You have to think they did something right.

    Too cool for kickstarter? What does that mean? Projects aiming for kickstarter are not hackworthy? On the one hand you’re not supposed to take this contest too seriously, but the winner will get a trip to space. A ternary computer gets an endorsement from Brian about winning the votes; does that mean it’s going to the next round or is it just a “chairman’s choice”?

    The ultimate point is there is a huge carrot dangling in front of everybody who is opening up to their code, their time and will power, to hackaday yet besides feedback, followers skulls or likes there is no stat to encourage us. And in this kind of uncertainty people who do really care and want to get to the next round are paying attention to the signals coming from the editors. And they are confusing.

    I am sticking through, getting everything together and prepared to do the best I can.


    1. > There is no objective measure of making to the next round.

      All you need to do to make it to the next round is have a project, and meet the requirements. That’s it. The voting, skulls, front page posts, and everything else does not matter. Even if you don’t meet the requirements, we’re going to be busting our ass this week to make sure everyone *does*.

      We’re also trying very, very hard not to make this a popularity contest. See: the complaints about the community voting. The only advice I have is chill out, buckle down, and know that even if you don’t win you’ll have made something you wanted to make.

      1. Brian, I seem to have read differently.

        “GENERAL ADMISSION – 04/28/2014 THROUGH 08/20/2014
        At the end of this period, elimination rounds will begin. A large panel of Hackaday staff will consider all entries and forward 30-50 of the top offerings to next round. Rewards will be distributed to the best offerings that don’t make the cut.”

        “Quarterfinals (Stage 2): On August 20, 2014, Sponsor will snapshot each Project Profile for evaluation. On or around August 25, 2014, Sponsor will select fifty (50) submissions to advance to the next round based on the following evenly-weighted criteria: (1) completion of entry requirements, (2) quality of submission as benchmarked against a sample created by the Hackaday team, and (3) the project’s “cool factor” or how appealing, innovative and generally cool the project is. The results of the Community Vote will be among the criteria considered in assigning a cool factor score.”

        It seems to me that voting does matter, and that it takes more than just completing the entry requirements.

      2. Brian, technically you’re right…my mistake. The round I am really thinking about is when you pare down the all entries that have completed the requirements down to 50 (maybe 30 it seems?). Anyway, you guys are putting a lot of work into it too and thanks for the response.

    2. I have been spending a lot of time on my project and tracking progress other projects, so I this is what I have seen and this is how I feel.

      That’s the point I have been making all along. Either the HaD staff showcase *all* of the projects equally or *none* at all. Projects that have show case on this site have a huge effect on their popularity. I have seen some of them increases a few folds and move up a couple of pages. What’s the point for making already popular projects even more popular? This just make the rest of us miserable.

      Having only the projects they like on the front page *everyday* makes it almost pointless to want to finish one’s work if you are stuck on page 6 or below. Some of the ones on the first page does nothing project wise, but simply updating their pages.

      The *default* setting for tag: hack a day prize is sorting according to most skulls. Nobody see beyond page 4 or so. Look at the *huge* difference of # of skulls for projects between page 2 & page 3 and you’ll see what I mean. It is literally a few times higher and the actual quality or difficulty of the more popular projects don’t stands out. Once you are up on that rocket, you are leaving the rest behind.

      I wouldn’t have this issue with HaD of the initial narrowing down of the 400+ project were done by the judges and judges alone. Right now, you ain’t got a chance if you are not in the top 50.

      Would anyone trust the same staff that showcase their only picks for being impartial to the other 80+% of the projects that they pass by? The same selection criteria they pick would likely be the same one that determine whether you win a T-shirt and the judges never see your project or not.

  3. I understand the ease with which I can throw together a system diagram and concept video, but do you really expect us to make 4 project logs in such a short period of time? Is “project log” defined in some way that I’m not following? Because if it’s something other than what I understand it to be, I just might be able to submit a project.

    1. Actually that’s what my project log ended up… Project detail ended up being a summary.
      You can talk about different aspects of the designs. I see it as a way to communicate with the readers and bring them closer to the project as you jog down the thought in your mind or problems you run into. Things that you have tried whether or they work can be there too. Sort of a Reality TV meets Dear Dairy and it is a good way to let the reader experience some of that even if they don’t have the necessary skills.

      If the readers want to skip over a certain topic, that’s easy to do. It is actually better than cramming everything in project details in a big wall of text.

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