2019 Hackaday Prize Begins Right Now

This is the 2019 Hackaday Prize, the worldwide hardware design contest focused on product development. We know you can build a working prototype, and we still want to see you do that. But a great idea should have reach beyond your own workshop. This year’s Hackaday Prize is about taking your product across the finish line, from concept to design for manufacture.

Prizes to Jump Start Your Product

$125,000 and a Supplyframe DesignLab Residency await the Best Product winner. There are five focus categories this year, with the winner of each receiving a $10,000 prize. And to help encourage those early beginnings, we have another $10,000 in seed funding set aside which means up to $500 for each of the top 20 entries who get in and gather those “likes” before June first.

There are a few areas of focus you should have in mind as you work on your products. These are Concept, Design, Production, Benchmark, and Communication. All entries are eligible to receive prizes related to these, and in addition to the $50,000 we mentioned above for the winner in each area, we have another $3,000 for each set aside to recognize an honorable mention.

$200,000 is on the line and the final results will be revealed live on stage at the Hackaday Superconference in November. Your name should be in one of those sealed envelopes!

Why You? And Why the Hackaday Prize

Something amazing happened thirty years ago. A core of very motivated hackers took on the mantle of design, software, and even business skill, to build the computers that thrust us into a new information age. As these machines matured, a wave of software engineers picked up that torch, themselves embracing product and design thinking to accelerate the startup craze to new levels, again changing the world.

Ask yourself where we are right now. What are the hot new startups? The buzz now is all about billion dollar valuation but where is the substance? What we really need are the scrappy hackers who have a flag to plant to change the world. We’ve mistakenly been waiting for software companies to use their special sauce to lead a hardware renaissance, but instead it feels like we’re solving more and more trivial problems — where are the world-changers?

This is the hunger behind the 2019 Hackaday Prize. Three decades later, it is time for Hardware Engineers to be recognized as Innovators and leaders again. This is the call for the hardware community to come together, share knowledge, acquire new skills, and embark on a journey that uses the technological raw materials at our fingertips to invent the solutions that really matter. Make the idea and the execution happen now, and that enormous valuation will follow. Now is the time to change the world, you are the hackers who will do it, and this time around hardware will be leading the charge.

Improvisation, Mentorship, and Your Ability to Do Everything

We know you can build a working prototype of just about anything. But just like the creators of the Commodore, the Sinclair, Amiga, Apple, and Atari, you need to be more than a hardware designer. You need to know your users like you know yourself. You need an eye for industrial design — each of the machines mentioned above are iconic by how they look and not just by how they work. People behind these products knew what they were up against, and chose to make them stand-out designs in terms of performance, price, and how they fit into our lives.

You don’t have every skill necessary to make a great leap forward in every one of these areas — nobody does. But with the right community around you, you will learn some of them and find collaborators for the rest. Throughout the 2019 Hackaday Prize we’ll be pushing everyone to step past where you think your skills end, to learn what makes a product great, what makes it loved by the end user, and what makes it feasible to follow through to the end of the rainbow.

Get in early and take part in Prize demo days. Get matched up with world-class mentors and work with them in a masterclass situation from which everyone can learn. Show off your work and you’ll attract good ideas and good people. This is the Homebrew Computer Club of the new millennium. You’re going to find inspiration (and become the inspiration!) from everyone in the club. You’re going to riff on the breakthroughs of others, and together we’re all going to lead that Hardware Renaissance.

Don’t let this call go unanswered. Start your Hackaday Prize entry right now, and don’t look back.

50 thoughts on “2019 Hackaday Prize Begins Right Now

  1. It’s 2019. The Commodores and Sinclairs were 40 years ago, not 30. Having worked with some of the hardware engineers of them, it’s a different world to now…

    1. My first home computer was a Timex/Sinclair 1000 that I bought used at a garage sale 32 years ago, so I say 30 works fine. Especially if the category includes Amiga.

        1. No, but notice that the Kaypro 10 would have been on store shelves at the same time as the Timex/Sinclair 1000; and 32 years ago it would have still been a recent machine. It lands you in the right decade, for example.

    1. Focus on the process!
      You can “Save the World” next time!

      But I hope next year’s event will bring a “Create [name brand deleted] Bachelor Chow, with Flavor!” category.

      Have you noticed that as we appear to be getting closer to Space Tourism becoming a reality, HackaDay is not offering the “ride to space” prize anymore?

  2. “We have another $10,000 in seed funding set aside which means up to $500 for each of the top 20 entries who get in and gather those “likes” before June first.” I know last year had similar wording but everyone that entered ended up receiving some money based on likes, not just the top 20 entries. Hopefully it’s not different this year.

      1. Sorry you didn’t get anything, you were supposed to. For a time it was up in the air if they would hand it out and it was a bit of a mess when they started handing it out.

  3. Just my opinion, but you really shouldn’t put a full page banner before your page actually loads.
    With so many fake/scam sites out there, for a moment I wasn’t sure if I was on the actual hackaday site.
    Something to consider…..

  4. “There are a few areas of focus you should have in mind as you work on your products. These are Concept, Design, Production, Benchmark, and Communication.” …… I presume these are the five categories? It’s imp[lied, but not 100% clear. ……. So if somebody has a great concept and don’t do any of the other categories very well, they can still win 10K$ ? …….. and I presume all the categories will be judged at the same time, in October or sometime near then?

    1. Yeah, I haven’t submitted to any of the previous HaD Prize contests,
      but, the thought of having all my thoughts laid out nice and neat (and submitted) will just postpone my daydream of entering it for another year.

        1. Agreed. Ok, last year’s contest was a bit of a mess, but is was great fun. I’m feeling at least 500% under motivated and chances of winning one of the prizes seems very remote at this stage. Would have been better to split the 125K$ prize into smaller chunks. Having judging every month last year was such a great idea, but hard work for the judges. I would have fired the lot of them and made the hackaday / Supply frame / Digikey staff work harder for their $ by doing the monthly judging themselves and hiring some big wig judges for the finals only. Rant over !!!!!

  5. “..with the winner of each receiving a $10,000 prize.” Cash or “a prize worth $10,000 as determined by hack-a-day”? If the latter, then it could be just a couple of raspberry-pi zero’s shipped from adafruit or element-14.

      1. Why? Why would they care about hackers learning the skills of bringing a product to market? Oh, right. SupplyFrame. Yup, manufacturer-a-day. This is securely in the NOT A HACK category.

          1. The by-line says Mike Stish, but much of the article reads like the output of a marketing person, or maybe a “professional development” person. My eyes start blurring every time I try to read it.

        1. I’m also wondering who gets the rights of the submitted entries.
          Prize money is nice of course, but “what’s in it for them?” (the ones that cough up the prize money)

          1. From the “All Rules” page:
            “7. OWNERSHIP OF SUBMISSIONS; LICENSES. As between Sponsor and Participant, Participant retains ownership of all intellectual property rights in and to the Project Content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Participant acknowledges that a goal of the Contest is to encourage the development of contributions which may be freely used by the hardware hacker community, including users of hackaday.io, and that any license applicable to any Project Content should be open source if code or, if other content, should permit copying, distribution, remixing, building upon or other uses for any purpose. To the extent a license or other restriction applies that may restrict such uses of any Project Content, Participant agrees to identify such Project Content and the applicable license or other restriction on the Project profile page. Sponsor is not responsible for any failure by any hackaday.io user or other third party to comply with any license or restriction applicable to any Project Content, or any other use, replication, distribution, and/or modification of any Project Content by any person other than Sponsor (including, without limitation, the commercialization of any ideas). Participant waives all moral rights in Project Content to the extent such rights are waivable.

            “As a condition of participation in the Contest, Participant grants Sponsor, its affiliates, subsidiaries, agents, and advertising partners, a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license to use, reproduce, adapt, modify, publish, distribute, publicly perform, create a derivative work from, and publicly display, in any and all media (now known or later developed), submissions (including, without limitation, videos) (1) for the purposes of reviewing, assessing, testing, and evaluating the submission in connection with the Contest; (2) for the purpose of promoting the Project Content and/or the Contest to members of the hackaday.io community or others; and (3) in connection with advertising and promotion for the benefit of Sponsor, the judges and any advertising partners associated with hackaday.io or the Contest. Participant agrees to sign any additional waivers, licenses or releases that Sponsor reasonably requests in order to make use of the rights granted herein.

            “Participant understands that, excluding the opportunity to win a prize, Participant will not receive any compensation from Sponsor in connection with Participant’s participation in the Contest, and Participant is solely responsible for any costs or expenses arising from such participation.

  6. I’d like to thank “BrightBlueJim” for entering a portion of the contest rules but if one were to have a Provisional Patent, I’m not sure I understand how those “rules” would affect/restrict legal Patent Pending (at least in the US).
    Have a great idea for a head mounted extruder being driven remotely (less mass at the head) but I’m concerned about intellectual property rights … can someone please help clarify?

  7. I’m not sure how I feel about this years prize. Unitl now till the Hackaday Prizes have always been structured to encourage open sourcing and helping improve the general state of the planet or hacking community – either by the areas (environment, special needs etc) or by the rules that plans and prototypes have to be published.

    This year seems to turn that on its head and is actively encouraging closed-source product-focused designs which, from what I can see of the lists, are games or robot related to get the popularity vote for mass-production. While these are cool (and I’ve actually liked+followed a few) they all seem to be reluctant to open-source files so add little to the Hackaday community except to be something to watch.

    A poor direction for a site like Hackaday.

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