Announcing The Five Finalists For The Hackaday Prize

Six months ago we challenged you to realize the future of open, connected devices. Today we see the five finalists vying for The Hackaday Prize.

These five were chosen by our panel of Launch Judges from a pool of fifty semifinalists. All of them are tools which leverage Open Design in order to break down the barriers of entry for a wide range of interests. They will have a few more weeks to polish and refine their devices before [Chris Anderson] joins the judging panel to name the winner.

Starting on the top left and moving clockwise:

ChipWhisperer, an embedded hardware security research device goes deep into the world of hardware penetration testing. The versatile tool occupies an area in which all-in-one, wide-ranging test gear had been previously non-existant or was prohibitively expensive to small-shop hardware development which is so common today.

SatNOGS, a global network of satellite ground stations. The design demonstrates an affordable node which can be built and linked into a public network to leverage the benefits of satellites (even amateur ones) to a greater extent and for a wider portion of humanity.

PortableSDR, is a compact Software Defined Radio module that was originally designed for Ham Radio operators. The very nature of SDR makes this project a universal solution for long-range communications and data transfer especially where more ubiquitous forms of connectivity (Cell or WiFi) are not available.

ramanPi, a 3D printed Raman Spectrometer built around a RaspberryPi with some 3D printed and some off-the-shelf parts. The design even manages to account for variances in the type of optics used by anyone building their own version.

Open Source Science Tricorder, a realization of science fiction technology made possible by today’s electronics hardware advances. The handheld is a collection of sensor modules paired with a full-featured user interface all in one handheld package.

From Many, Five

The nature of a contest like the Hackaday Prize means narrowing down a set of entries to just a few, and finally to one. But this is a function of the contest and not of the initiative itself.

The Hackaday Prize stands for Open Design, a virtue that runs far and deep in the Hackaday community. The 50 semifinalists, and over 800 quarterfinalists shared their work openly and by doing so provide a learning platform, an idea engine, and are indeed the giants on whose shoulders the next evolution of hackers, designers, and engineers will stand.

Whether you submitted an entry or not, make your designs open source, interact with the growing community of hardware engineers and enthusiasts, and help spread the idea and benefits of Open Design.

79 thoughts on “Announcing The Five Finalists For The Hackaday Prize

        1. I’ll take that as a “Sure! Next year.” lol…Seriously though, you should keep doing these contests; doesn’t need to have such a huge prize like a space trip. Also to be fair to all kinds of people, go for different areas (software, mechanical, chemical, biological, etc..).

          I want to see a security contest though (even though Chip Whisperer is a finalist here). We don’t need more IoT all-intrusive connectivity in every single device we own (or don’t…). We need computers that put the user at the keyboard back or thumb pad back in control of the machine and protect them.

  1. Congrats to the people in the top5, and no sweat to the rest, you all still made super awesome projects!

    Personally, id vote for the TriCoder, because everybody has thought of it but only a handfull of people made one, and this guy has been making awesome prototype after prototype for years now, bout time he got some proper recognition.

    1. Nothing happened to us, we’re still here! Our ideas and goals haven’t changed, regardless of where we ended up in this contest. We’ve made an insane amount of progress in the last few weeks, even if it doesn’t show on our build log (system integration is going on right now, so be prepared for some cool videos in the next few weeks). You can build a FirePick Delta today (there are currently 27 machines being built by the members of our mailing list). And you’ll be able to buy a kit or assembled machines in the months ahead.

      I’m just as confused as to why the tricorder beat us as well, but I’ll still likely try to contact the judges and see if they have any constructive criticism for our project. Good luck to the five finalists! I suppose I’ll be rooting for the RamanPi Spectrometer.

      1. Nothing happened to us, we’re still here! Our ideas and goals haven’t changed, regardless of where we ended up in this contest.

        This is what I like to hear. Contests are a great way to raise awareness, but great builds happen because they warrant it in and of themselves.

        Can’t wait to see where you go with this one Neil!

    2. I can give one judges opinion on that project.
      I would have scored low on the “Wow” and Connected” categories.
      It’s not really a connected device apart from hooking up to a PC, so it should have got ranked about as low as you can get in that category. And as for “wow”, well, as nice as it might look and sound, ultimately it’s just yet another attempt at a pick’n’place machine I’m afraid. It’s hardly a unique concept. So in that respect the couple of 3D printers and smart watches would have ranked about the same here.

      And that’s the thing with contest. If you score really low in one category (say connectedness), it’s very hard for your project to compensate for that in low score in other categories.

        1. It may not be as ubiquitous as a 3D printer, but in my experience on the EEVblog forum, the Amp Hour, and just keeping an eye on such things, DIY pick’n’place machines are not new, many people have been working on them for a long time, and usually they are open source. A simple Google search can bring up a hand full. The only thing different with this is that it uses the Delta arrangement.
          So I’m afraid that from a judging perspective, it’s just not going to score high on the Wow factor, or the Connected factor, or the Innovation factor. That’s just the way it is.
          The fact that it was the most public voted for project, or that there is a big demand for a cheap PnP machine does not enter the judging equation at all.
          As judges we have to look at things objectively and according to the contest criteria, and scale the scores across all the entries.

          1. >> DIY pick’n’place machines are not new, many people have been working on
            >> them for a long time, and usually they are open source. A simple Google
            >> search can bring up a hand full.

            Software defined radios are not new, many people have been working on them for a long time (1980’s), and usually they are open source. A simple Google search can bring up a hand full.

            Tricorders are not new, many people have been working on them for a long time, and usually they are open source. A simple Google search can bring up a hand full.

            >> The only thing different with this is that it uses the Delta arrangement.

            Wow. If you truly think that, then I have completely failed in trying to communicate my project to the judges. That, or we never stood a chance in the first place. Losing the competition was a blow, but man, way to rub it in Dave.

          2. @Neil: I actually think the portable SDR project is very unique. Right now there are zero open-source portable SDR projects out there, or if there are, they are extremely hard to find. I looked everywhere before starting mine (really need to work on it…) so I can see where the portable SDR dev guy is coming from as well.

          3. Hi Neil
            Sorry, there is no reply button to your post (some nesting limit?)
            I never meant to insult you or your project. I like your project, I think it’s great, and I think you’ve done an awesome amount of work on it.
            That being said, you have to try and understand what these contests are about.
            We were given specific categories to judge in, and it’s a simple fact that your project is not broad enough to score high in all of those categories.
            I’m trying to explain how the judges might have seen your project when they have to scale across all projects. I obviously cannot speak for the other judges, so I’m trying to offer some explanation why your project ultimately didn’t make the cut.
            By far the biggest factor here would have been the connectivity. This would have dragged your project average score down into an almost unwinnable position. That’s not your fault, it’s our fault, it’s simply the nature of the contest you entered.
            Also, every judges experiences and opinions are different, that is why we have many judges. In my experience, I’ve personally seen plenty of DIY pick’n’places, so there was little “wow” factor *for me*. Once again, that not your fault, and it’s not my fault, it’s just a nature of one judges personal experience.

            Remember: “The Hackaday Prize will be awarded to the best example of an open, connected device.”
            So yes, any project that was not really “connected” stood very long odds of winning or placing in the top 5.

          4. Neil is right. Discounting the pick and place project as unoriginal and lacking innovation while not saying the same for the SDR (any of the MANY SDR for example hackRF at 6GHz and open source vs 30MHz here), or the “Tricorder” (see any vendor breakout board and attached Arduino) is really unfair.

            You guys really missed the point here. The pick and place would not only be something that the most people here would actually buy and use.. but it could have the same effect on the assembly process that cheap PCBs from china like ITead or BatchPCB, had on professional PCBs. That is some wow factor. As far as innovation, why are none of the “other” pick and place machines successful? Because it’s a really hard problem that requires a lot of work and …. innovation…. to do cheaply and successfully. If you are going to talk about “Connectedness” you need to describe how the ramanPi is connected. In the comments of his own project the owner talks about having to come up with ways to meet that requirement.

            All of these projects are good projects. I’m not discounting the work the people did to get them where they are now. I’m just saying… and a lot of people agree based on the votes.. that some of the best projects, with the Pick and Place in particular, got ripped off.

          5. @AC Sorry, no, in my view the PnP didn’t get “ripped off”, it simply didn’t make the cut like many other projects. It got marked fairly just like all the others. It likely got marked lower because it’s *not* really a connected device as such. That is no fault of the project, it’s just a simple fact. This contest is all about connected devices, it says so in the title! So if it (or any other similar project) doesn’t do well in that criteria, then it has a real struggle to make up the points in other categories.
            But seeing as that we don’t know the scores from the judges, we’ll never know where it ranked.
            I’m not saying the project isn’t innovative in it’s own area, but once again the scores have to be scaled across all the projects, and then you throw in the judges personal viewpoint on it.
            In the end it simply didn’t make the cut. No one got ripped off, that’s simply life and the nature of design contests and the variability in judges.
            I know *exactly* how Neil feels, as I’ve been in the exact same position entering contests myself. I had the most popular project according to the community and it didn’t even make the final cut.
            As I said, only 3 out of my top 10 projects I ranked made the final 5 cut. And I’m also bemused how some of them missed out. It ultimately comes down to the large variability in judges personal viewpoints. But there is that pesky connected thing, and there isn’t a huge amount of personal variability in that one.

          6. @AC BTW, The community who are voting on these projects are very likely *not* voting based on the judging criteria. Why, because they didn’t have it. That criteria was only given to the judges, and only revealed when I did my video showing the spreadsheet and how we were scoring.
            So there is likely to be big disconnect between what the community votes for and what the judges vote for.
            This is a judged design contest based on formal rules, it is not a community popularity contest.

          7. > The community who are voting on these projects are very likely *not* voting based on the judging criteria. Why, because they didn’t have it. That criteria was only given to the judges, and only revealed when I did my video showing the spreadsheet and how we were scoring.

            Confirming this. The ‘community voting’ had no bearing on who made the semifinalist cut or the final five. Seriously, one of the community voting polls was, “pick the device that would be least successful on Kickstarter.” You really thought that would be accounted for in the official judging?

          8. @AC In the case of the RamanPi, yes, it should also have scored low on connectedness. But it likely got scored higher on the Wow factor and innovation factors, and that was was likely enough to put it over the line.
            In my scoring I ranked both the same on connectedness.
            But really, how much more nit picking can we do here comparing this project and that?
            The judges did their job to the best of their abilities, and the PnP didn’t make the cut, along with countless other projects.
            3 out of the top 5 community voted projects didn’t even make the semi-final round of 42 projects!

          9. Again, not true at all, having a REST API means we’re hyper-connected to any client that implements the other side of that connection. Sure I could have spelled it out better, and maybe that lost us some points, but the reality is that our project is connected, whether you saw it or not. REST APIs are the unsung heros of the connected age, maybe people just take them for granted. I take responsibility for miscommunicating, but only because I decided to spend 100+ hours a week working on the actual machine and software, rather than attempting to bullshit my way through an incomplete project with smoke and mirrors.

            We actually had some really awesome connectivity stuff that I wasn’t able to post, because Hackaday’s editing software went all crazy that night. I’m not screaming conspiracy here, but their system was barely usable that night and was deleting certain bits of text I typed. Hackaday later admitted to this. (anyone with a sharp eye would have also spotted grammatical errors and incomplete sentences in my other posts, that I couldn’t really fix). We’re actually teamed up now as an official partner with OctoPart and their Common Part Library, which makes us incredibly connected to parts distributors, board houses, hardware startup accelerators, and of course, OctoPart’s growing database of everything related to electronic components.

            I’m not offended that we lost, as I’ve said in other posts. I’m just trying to make the point that our system is a hell of a lot more impressive than you’re making it out to be, period. Regardless of how well that came across in a few subjective judging categories.

          10. Dave, thanks for judging and taking the time to post some responses here. That must have been a lot of work going through all the projects.
            Maybe the pool of semi-finalists should have been smaller to give the judges more time to go through the best projects in more detail.

            And I wasn’t saying the community voting did or should have anything to do with the actual picking of the finalists. I was just pointing out that the community showed which projects they through deserved the highest ranking and then the judges threw a curve ball. That’s all. But to further the baseball analogy it’s like if someone hit 4 for 4 and drove in the winning run in every game in the world series and then the officials named a pinch hitter who got a base hit in game 2 the series MVP. Even if it was a really really important pinch hit, that rightfully might irritate some of the fans.

          11. @AC Once again, I can’t agree with your assessment there. We have no idea why the community gave the thumbs up to the projects they did. You can’t assume that they did so because they though that project should win the contest, as Brian has pointed out above.
            The judges did not throw a curve ball, we did exactly what we were supposed to do, we judged the projects based on a defined set of contest criteria.
            As I said, 2 out of the top 5 community voted projects didn’t even make the semi-finals round, and I think that tells you a lot about any correlation between community scores and contest eligibility. And one of the projects that came third in community voting but didn’t even make the make the semi’s has more followers than the PnP machine!

            I’ll speak for myself only in that if I had more time to judge the projects it probably wouldn’t have made much difference to my final scoring.

          12. “2 out of the top 5 community voted projects didn’t even make the semi-finals round and I think that tells you a lot about any correlation between community scores and contest eligibility”

            Actually 5/5 of the top community voted projects made the semifinals.
            *The PCB mill and Mooltipass are not official entries

            “The only thing different with this is that it uses the Delta arrangement”

            This pretty much sums it up, when you watch ~3.5 hours of videos and go through 42 projects that took months of hard work, in just under *4* hours (that’s about ~42 seconds per project), you end up with results like this, but I’m not judging here (pun intended) I understand you’re all busy people, just saying maybe the list should have been a lot shorter so that each project had the attention it deserved.

          13. @iabdalkader Each project did get the attention that was necessary, and they all got equal attention. Well, at least for me, and I can only presume the other judges as well.
            And I’m telling you that having more time spent analysing them would not really have changed my opinion much. So I think that is a complete red-herring.
            All projects were judged equally, and results averaged spread across many very capable judges, and there were winners and losers.
            Sorry if your favourite project didn’t win, welcome to the world of design contests.

          14. I respectfully disagree, going through 42 projects’ descriptions/documentations/logs(8 of them per project)/links (and code maybe?) in less than 30 minutes, while tweeting about it, is hardly “the attention that was necessary”.

            It’s not my favorite project it’s *the* favorite project, mine didn’t make it either, that’s perfectly fine, but I want to know why ? in fact I believe I (we) have the right to see the scores, if only to get feedback on our projects and know why/where we failed to impress, instead of just saying you lost deal with it, better luck next time, that’s just how contests work, It is an opensource contest after all.

          15. @iabdalkader You are wrong. I spent more time on it than that. That was my first round of looking at all the entries systematically and getting some basic numbers in the spreadsheet. And I had already seen many before I had started that.
            I do not appreciate having the time and effort I put into this questioned, thanks. Not to mention me being here to answer questions and attempt to explain things from a judges perspective. Perhaps I was wrong to even post here to begin with?
            Please have respect for the judges and their role.
            Releasing the scores would be a very very bad idea, as then it would require every judge to justify every score they gave in every category and the reasoning behind it. Because the scores are highly subjective to each judge, and we all scale and weigh things differently, the scores would be borderline meaningless without those detailed explanations. The mess would be incredible, as is already starting to be evident here.
            No design contest I have ever been apart of or seen has released the judges scores.

          16. G’day Dave,

            As another Dave from Australia, thanks for your hard work judging the competition. My project (the $5 Polymerase Chain Reactor) didn’t make it to the final 5, but you don’t see me bitching about it (even though it should have won! /s)

            My advice to people who want to see the judges score: The criteria they were judging on are not related to the success of your project! Maybe you have a niche project that only a few people out there will really love, or maybe you’ll be the next Oculus Rift if you go on Kickstarter. The ‘Connectedness’ criteria, or subjective ‘Wow’ factor are just not relevant.


    1. This project?. The goal was changed to a mile-high bust of Stephen Colbert in the middle of Manhattan. That’s awesome and Kickstarter material.

      The problem with having multiple judges is that there will always be someone unhappy with the results. It’s the most fair and with the least amount of bullshit, though.

      1. The goal of BuckyBot is still the 1 km dome … the Steven Colbert thing was just to illustrate the capability… BuckyBot started from zero when the Hackaday Prize was begun … It continues on …. and don’t think we’re not thinkiing of Kickstarter! Congrats to the awsome 5 …

  2. I have been reading with interest regarding the projects and I know it must at times be difficult for the judges to narrow down the field. Congratulations to the finalists AND everyone else for sharing your ideas.

  3. As one of the judges, I can say that I’m a bit surprised at the final 5 list. We were each asked to chose our top 10 after ranking them in various categories, and I can say that only 3 out of my top 10 list made the final 5
    In fact, my top 2 projects didn’t even make the cut!
    That goes to show the large spread of opinion in the judges, which is the whole point of this really, so in theory the most worthy project ultimately filters out on top.
    Congrats to the final 5, well done!

      1. The finalists appease me. Even the satellite network thing, though it can not become global due to how people are distributed. If they can get a coherent clock to all the radios then it becomes a truly ground-breaking project.

        I think the Tricorder’s challenge is software. It needs to be an expert system since data != information. Those can be crowd-sourced these days, so it might open up a new field in AI.

        The Raman spectrometer represents hard science. My only concern is the BOM, which is huge and expensive. The project gets less science done each time it grows…

        The ChipWhisperer has the price point right. It looks like it’s going to be a huge and important success and let us finally feel confident about the level of security of our embedded systems such as smartphones and home based routers, as per the reasoning of open source philosophy.

        The PortableSDR has a really good idea going. I think it should compete with the Baofeng UV-R5, as apocalypse-proofing. I hope [coflynn] puts in a Morse trainer mode, such as letting the user enter a message and edit it before transmitting. Weather-resistance and an external battery pack which you can feed with AA alkalines, scavenged from zombie-infested shopping malls, would be ideal.

        1. I’m glad you like my little PortableSDR!

          Morse code trainer is a good idea. Hmm.

          I tried initially to make the thing submersible, but I decided it wasn’t high enough on my list of features to be worth the work YET, maybe a future version.

          An external battery pack is a good idea. It has some support for solar charging (that is, you can plug in a bare panel and it should probably work… within reason. I haven’t tested that yet.) I though it would be cool to supply it with a universal charge cable, that would be USB on one end, a buck-boost regulator and alligator clips on the other, clip it onto whatever and go.

          P.S. Who’s [coflynn]?

          1. How about a blue tooth module for keyboard support? I imagine that would take a lot of the micro controller resources. It would be cool to just type in the Bluetooth message and have the processor convert to Morse. And convert the incoming direction to text as well. That way, untrained people could use this device to chat. There goes the power budget :/

          2. The Portable SDR is one of the most significant things I have seen in 30+ years as a licensed ham. I showed it to some of my ham friends and their mouths dropped open. I hope the judges understand how big this is. YaeWoodCom should be very afraid.

  4. I can’t wait to see the winners!!! Personally I like the portable SDR. It’s original, open, and useful to a wide range of people. It totally works in space, you could use to talk to the HAMs on the ISS! I also want to build one myself. The other entries are also great, so I don’t envy the decisions the judges are gonna have to make. Here’s my breakdown of my own judgments:
    1. PSDR
    2. Chip Whisperer
    3. SatNogs
    4. RamanPi
    5. Science Tricorder

    1. That is a though break. But as harsh as it might sound these idea’s aren’t super unique.

      I once was in a hackerspace and somebody was demoing his airconditiong controller (think nest + ir leds for aircon control) And I thought ow wow this is what I was thinking just days ago. Another person chimes in out “loud I just thought of this today!” It happens.

      I can think all day all night but those guys (the aircon control guys) put in months and months of work with 6 people. I only thought of it being a good idea. I didn’t even put a ir led on a microcontroller yet.

      Don’t get discouraged though as you can see the kickstarter is doing great so that means the idea was a solid one. And it looks like they put in a lot of time if the generations of prototypes are actually true and all that.

      Maybe try to involve more people with your ideas to finish them faster. And maybe not publish all of it yet until you are ready to kickstart / produce it.

      1. Ha I thought it was kinda weird the 4 generations thing. (wondered if it’s true and all that in my last post)

        You might want to look into this thread. Or maybe not, might bum you out but it’s not all sunshine I think with this kickstarter.

        My point still stands though these idea’s are not super unique. Get more people involved etc etc.

      2. I agree this concept is not super-unique, but the fact is this guy is using a contest project, with existing prototype and a lot of work to make some easy money and possibly scam contributors :
        He says the device has been home-made when it is wrong :
        Look at the 4 generations picture, the 4 devices are not scaled properly to give a wrong indication of size
        Isn’t it strange the campaign started the day before the semifinals judging ? Isn’t it strange his website has been registred on sept-18 ?
        Why devices pictures are being removed from the kickstarter page ?

        I’m also not the only guy with concerns :

        1. I am right there with you on the concerns. I hate these situations, somebody says: “hey get this thing, it’s what you always wanted” Mass amount of people go like wow open hardware, open software? awesome! lets get it. They never read the comments while they are full of people that are questioning this guy.

          I found the other reddit threads as well. I don’t think they can stop the momentum though. The mass wants what the mass wants. It’s hard to explain to a group that having a security product from a guy who isn’t straight up with you is a very very bad thing.

          I blame our media as well as reviews, blogs promotions by tech websites care more about showing the latest hot stuff then giving people information they can use to make a education decision on what to buy.

          I would like to see the media pull the reviews, promotions blogs etc on this type of thing as soon as it was confirmed this guy was lying about his work.

          lastly for the record if he said “look I got this device and I am putting TOR on it for you and you can buy it so you don’t have to do it yourself” then I would be fine with it. It’s not the money he is asking it’s not being straight with what he is selling that I have a problem with.

  5. Congrats to the final five. Every one of them looks quite interesting.

    I really don’t envy the judges; trying to pick 5 from 50 projects, given the scope and range of project types, cannot be easy. Of course, I can’t say that the next round will be any better…


  6. If you question the connectedness of ramanPi, you clearly haven’t watched the video or read the project details..or possibly misunderstand how the system works. I know there’s a lot of documentation, and a lot to read and understand…but if you don’t want to read it, or don’t understand it, please also don’t make disparaging comments with an uninformed opinion.

    Trying to bring other projects down is really not what I had hoped from this community.. This is my first project that I’ve shared with the community..I’m doing it because I wanted to return something to everyone.. Through this entire contest I have watched a lot of people do a lot of very cool work, spend a lot of time making cool things and sharing all of it. That is great.. On the darker side, each time one of these posts are made I’ve seen a lot of people act unfavorably when they feel they didn’t get what they felt was deserved.. I think the spirit of this contest is the general goodness of building something cool, sharing it and making the community a better place by encouraging each other to make cool stuff.. Not pick at each other and try to undermine each others efforts.. It always makes me sad when I see that..

    I’m building ramanPi because I’m building ramanPi…contest or no contest I started this project because I needed it…and the pre-existing internet databases that it pulls data from were a requirement, unless someone can tell me how to match spectra without that data……… There have been a TON of people that have been very encouraging, helped me make decisions and have just been great… And that is what I had hoped everyone would do… support each other in their efforts… Some of us aren’t in huge teams, we have to fund these projects ourselves…without any support but the kind words of people in places like hackaday… I had no idea I’d end up in the final 5..heck I didn’t think I’d make the semi-finals. Not that I don’t appreciate the wonderful work, and effort hackaday has put into this whole thing…I’ve said many times before how grateful and amazed I am with them for everything, and the great opportunity..but I would feel that way even if I didn’t make it to the semifinals.. I almost feel sorry for the grand prize winner, I hope they have a strong heart and wish them the best of luck..

    1. Well said! I think no matter who made it past some threshold or who wins someone will think it unfair, but such is life. There will always be a bit of luck in these contests as with life – we can’t control if our computer crashed, or you were hit by a car on the day you had to submit the final video, etc. Even the ‘connectivity’ requirement has a lot of ambiguity to me – if you are using a database for example, does the connectivity change if it’s local vs. networked vs. internet? What if you access that database over zigbee instead of wired ethernet? Thus there will be some luck depending on if your own definition of connectivity aligns with the judges.

      But I think for all of us it’s good to see wider acceptance of open-hardware type solutions. To me it seems your ramanPi could be revolutionary in giving a whole new range of people access to this technology, which is realistically only possible with open hardware. Not only for the lower cost, but for places where it’s difficult to import due to shipping hassles, etc. These type of design contests are great in giving some incentive to make some quick progress, plus the chance for some serious funding in bringing things to the next level without needing to rely on fickle kickstarter backers!

      So to all we can say good luck, and no matter what this will hopefully bring about a lot of positive changes in the entire community. Remember that lots of the most appreciative people might not even post/comment as they don’t want to get flamed (I think Dave might be regretting offering his comments in these threads, even though he’s gone way out of his way to help us all understand the process). For my own project I’ve had people make PCBs out of the GIT repo and build the thing without ever having email me… I only found out when then mentioned it at a conference. So take the silence to mean people saying “that’s a damn cool project” to themselves and moving on with their lives ;-)

      1. Thank you, and I agree…as with any of the judging criteria, it’s left up to interpretation.. I didn’t actually mean to come off sounding offended or anything.. I am completely blown away about how supportive everyone has been. I’m also amazed at the enginuity and creativeness I’ve seen from the entire crowd. It’s convinced me to share everything from now on…and when I can I’ll be converting my personal project documentation/history over to
        Dave may be regretting his involvement, but I for one appreciate the perspective none the less..

      2. Correct. Technically the judges were left to their own devices on how to interpret and scale the connectedness (and other) categories. The only requirement was that we of course apply it evenly across all the projects.
        Complaining because one of the 8 judges didn’t think a project was all that “connected” in comparison to some others is failing to understand the variability possible in the judging system. This is why there are many experienced judges, so that (hopefully) the best projects rise above the pack when all scores are averaged out.
        And like I said, I’m personally a bit disappointed that some projects I thought were tops didn’t make the final five, but I respect that that’s just the way it is.

        1. Dave, thanks for coming in and bringing transparency to the judgment part of the contest. I appreciate you answering people’s questions and being patient with some of the nitpickers. My project didn’t even make the semi-finals (and I legitimately thought it was better than some that did), but it didn’t really bother me, as I was entering it for the experience more than anything. I still plan on completing it whenever I get some time, and I have received some excellent feedback on my other projects that has improved my work. As a community-building exercise, this was a success for all

  7. Congrats to the final 5! This was a fierce competition with a lot of research and innovation put into motion, and in the end we ALL get to win from that. I hope more opportunities like this will rise.

    The project I have developed, the Global radiation monitoring network (–Global-radiation-monitoring-network ) did not make it, but I am happy about the entire experience, which was nice, and being in the final 50 was truly exciting. I wasn’t necessarily here for winning a price, but more for making the project known to the community, in order to get some feedback and see what can be improved. The uRADMonitor has already passed the prototyping stage and is now ready for production. I and taking what was good here, looking for the great things to come.

    I also know this was a huge effort for the judges (been in their shoes myself), and while I see some of the people here are a little upset, I’d say it is a little unfair to blame the judges for applying the existing competition rules.

    Thanks HaD for making this competition possible, this was a great event that I’m sure it had a positive feedback on the makers community.

      1. Hi Dave,

        I’ll be able to post it today or tomorrow the latest. Production is pretty much all set up, and ready to start. About the tubes I do have a stock of NOS tubes, but also a good source should I need more. So all’s good I’d say, just need to invest more time in improving the website, the charts and adding notifications and more options to the portal.

  8. Dave, I hope you don’t think I was directing my comment toward you..or that I was complaining… Not the case at all, as I said above…I appreciate the perspective.. I also appreciate the time and effort.

    Contest aside, I’m amazed with the contributions people have been posting on I just do not see anything constructive coming from some of the community specifically naming other peoples projects and picking on them to try and deflect when they are feeling inadequate.. Outside of this community even, that is an unfavorable personality trait in my opinion and usually signifies an individual I prefer to not associate with. Having said that, I am an adult and I realize the world doesn’t work the way I would have it….

    I think hackaday has done a very good job, the judging system seems as fair as any..and the judges deserve recognition for contributing their time and efforts.. Ultimately, I’ve already surpassed any expectations I ever had..and have accomplished more than I had hoped in helping people get started with raman systems..I would love to get these into schools too..So I just do what I do and work on my project and leave the contest details to the officials.. I don’t want anyone to think I’m complaining about this experience in the least.. It’s been an amazing thank you..! =D

  9. Well, I would want to have the PSDR and the tricorder. But the PSDR has the most convincing presentation and makes you think it’s a professional thing. whereas the tricorder although attractive seems more amateurish and possibly less complete, with things like only a 128×128 screen and the rather silly looking UI. But still though, the array of sensors is nice, and in a independent device, which to me is a very attractive feature.

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