Tell Time Contest Winners: Clocks To Knock Your Socks Off

The results are in and the Tell Time Contest was a spectacular showing of creativity. Five winners and a number of runners-up have have been chosen based on craftsmanship, functionality, and creativity.

The one that’s going to steal your heart is Fetch: A Ferrofluid Display. Pitting the force of gravity against electromagnetism, this project manages to wrangle a liquid into the segments of a display and the animations used to change between numbers are fascinating. It’s a wickedly complicated system and the gang over at Applied Procrastination did a great job of documenting the research and development that went into building this open source marvel. Has anyone tried to replicate it? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Mechanical movements date back to the transition away from sundials and hourglasses, but these two modern takes on “clockwork” prove there’s still plenty of room for creativity. The first is a plotter that uses two servo motors and a UV LED to draw hours and minutes on a phosphorescent material.

The second is both minimal and a stunning mastery of a traditional clock mechanism. TORLO uses the voice coil from a hard drive to move the gears. It’s 3D-printed and does it all in plain sight, superb!

Fans of the Alien franchise will immediately recognize this insect-like “facehugger”, the second stage of a developing Xenomorph. Embracing the tradition of the Cuckcoo clock, at the top of the hour a “Chestburster” pops through the chest of the bust to mark the passage of time. Creepy but well executed.

The flip-dot display uses a beautiful home-etched circuit board to keep things tidy inside of the case. Of course the question with these displays is always “where did you get the flip dots?”. This panel is on it’s second life after serving a tour of duty as a bus info sign.

Runners Up and Eight Score of Entries

Congratulations to all of our runners-up in the Tell Time contest. It was a tight field with 160 total entries, each of them a fascinating take on the simple, yet very complex practice of watching the seconds tick away. Add this to your weekend bucket list as you’ll certainly get lost in the details of many of these projects.

Winners Of The Take Flight With Feather Contest

It’s hard to beat the fidelity and durability of printed text on paper. But the e-paper display gets pretty close, and if you couple it will great design and dependable features, you might just prefer an e-reader over a bookshelf full of paperbacks. What if the deal is sweetened by making it Open Hardware? The Open Book Project rises to that challenge and has just been named the winner of the Take Flight with Feather contest.

This e-reader will now find its way into the wild, with a small manufacturing run to be put into stock by Digi-Key who sponsored this contest. Let’s take a closer look at the Open Book, as well as the five other top entries.

Continue reading “Winners Of The Take Flight With Feather Contest”

New Contest: Train All The Things

The old way was to write clever code that could handle every possible outcome. But what if you don’t know exactly what your inputs will look like, or just need a faster route to the final results? The answer is Machine Learning, and we want you to give it a try during the Train All the Things contest!

It’s hard to find a more buzz-worthy term than Artificial Intelligence. Right now, where the rubber hits the road in AI is Machine Learning and it’s never been so easy to get your feet wet in this realm.

From an 8-bit microcontroller to common single-board computers, you can do cool things like object recognition or color classification quite easily. Grab a beefier processor, dedicated ASIC, or lean heavily into the power of the cloud and you can do much more, like facial identification and gesture recognition. But the sky’s the limit. A big part of this contest is that we want everyone to get inspired by what you manage to pull off.

Yes, We Do Want to See Your ML “Hello World” Too!

Wait, wait, come back here. Have we already scared you off? Don’t read AI or ML and assume it’s not for you. We’ve included a category for “Artificial Intelligence Blinky” — your first attempt at doing something cool.

Need something simple to get you excited? How about Machine Learning on an ATtiny85 to sort Skittles candy by color? That uses just one color sensor for a quick and easy way to harvest data that forms a training set. But you could also climb up the ladder just a bit and make yourself a camera-based LEGO sorter or using an IMU in a magic wand to detect which spell you’re casting. Need more scientific inspiration? We’re hoping someday someone will build a training set that classifies microscope shots of micrometeorites. But we’d be equally excited with projects that tackle robot locomotion, natural language, and all the other wild ideas you can come up with.

Our guess is you don’t really need prizes to get excited about this one… most people have been itching for a reason to try out machine learning for quite some time. But we do have $100 Tindie gift certificates for the most interesting entry in each of the four contest categories: ML on the edge, ML on the gateway, AI blinky, and ML in the cloud.

Get started on your entry. The Train All The Things contest is sponsored by Digi-Key and runs until April 7th.

New Contest: Tell Time

Clocks. You love ’em, we certainly love ’em. So you hardly need a reason to take on a new clock build, but it makes it much sweeter when you know there’s a horde of people waiting to fawn over your creation. Hackaday’s Tell Time Contest is a celebration of interesting timepieces. Show off a clever way to mark the passage of time and gain the adoration of your peers, and maybe even score a prize!

The Rotating Moon Clock is an interesting take on a timepiece

From now until January 24th, you can enter your Hackaday.io project by using the “Submit project to…” menu on the left sidebar of your project page. There is only one main constraint: it needs to somehow represent time. Microseconds or millennia, minutes until the next bus arrival or centuries until Pluto completes its next orbit, we don’t care as long as you find it interesting.

Document your timepiece with pictures, a description, and all of the technical details. Three outstanding entries will each receive a $100 cash prize, based on craftsmanship, function, and creativity.

Tick-tock… don’t delay. Time’s slipping away to have your quirky clock immortalized on Hackaday.

FieldKit Is The Grand Prize Winner Of The 2019 Hackaday Prize

FieldKit, an open-source, modular sensor system for conducting research in harsh environments has just been named the Grand Prize winner of the 2019 Hackaday Prize. The award for claiming the top place and title of “Best Product” in this nine-month global engineering initiative is $125,000. Five other top winners and five honorable mentions were also named during this evening’s Hackaday Prize Ceremony, held during the Hackaday Superconference in Pasadena, California.

This year’s Hackaday Prize focused on product development. From one good idea and a working prototype, entrants were encouraged to iterate on their UX, industrial design, ergonomics, software, and mechanical plans as they worked toward a product that is both manufacturable and meets the needs of the user it has been designed for. Out of twenty finalists, the top eleven are covered below. Over $200,000 in cash prizes have been distributed as part of this year’s initiative where thousands of hardware hackers, makers, and artists compete to build a better future. Continue reading “FieldKit Is The Grand Prize Winner Of The 2019 Hackaday Prize”

The Dyson Awards Definitely Do Not Suck

Named after British inventor James Dyson of cyclonic vacuum cleaner fame, the Dyson Awards are presented annually to current and recent students of engineering, industrial design, and product design, regardless of age. Students from 27 countries work alone or in groups to describe their inventions, which are then judged for their inventiveness, the production feasibility of their design, and the overall strength of the entry itself.

Much like our own Hackaday Prize, the Dyson Awards encourage and highlight innovation in all areas of science and technology. Some ideas help the suffering individual, and others seek to cure the big problems that affect everyone, like the microplastics choking the oceans. The Hackaday spirit is alive and well in these entries and we spotted at least one Hackaday prize alum — [Amitabh]’s Programmable Air. I had fun browsing through everything on offer, and you will too. This is a pretty good source of design inspiration.

Continue reading “The Dyson Awards Definitely Do Not Suck”

Announcing The “Take Flight With Feather” Contest

The Adafruit Feather is the latest platform for microcontroller development, and companies like Particle, Sparkfun, Seeed Studios, and of course Adafruit are producing Feather-compatible devices for development and prototyping. Now it’s your turn! The Take Flight With Feather contest challenges you to design a board to fit in the Feather ecosystem, with the grand prize of having your boards manufactured for you and listed for sale on Digi-Key.

To get started, take a look at the current Feather ecosystem and get acquainted with this list of examples. From there, get to work designing a cool, useful, insane, or practical Feather. But keep in mind that we’re looking for manufacturability. Electron savant Lady Ada will be judging each board on the basis of manufacturability.

What’s a good design? We’re looking for submissions in the following categories:

  • The Weirdest Feather — What’s the most ridiculous expansion board you can come up with?
  • You’ll Cut Yourself On That Edge — We’re surrounded with bleeding-edge tech, what’s the coolest use of new technology?
  • Retro Feather — Old tech lives on, but can you design a Feather to interact with it? Is it even possible to build a vampire Ethernet tap or an old acoustically-coupled modem?
  • Assistive Tech — Build a Feather to help others. Use technology to improve lives.
  • Wireless Feather — Add a new wireless technology to the Feather ecosystem

In addition to the grand prize winner, five other entries (one in each of the 5 categories above) will receive $100 Tindie gift certificates. The contest begins now and runs through December 31st. To get started, start a project on Hackaday.io and use the “Submit Project To” dropdown box on the left sidebar of your project page to enter it in the contest.