These Are The 100 Finalists In The Hackaday Prize

The Hackaday Prize is the greatest hardware competition on the planet. It’s the Academy Awards of Open Hardware, and over the last few years we’ve been doing it, we’ve seen literally tens of projects that have gone from an idea to a prototype to a finished project to a saleable product. It’s the greatest success story the Open Hardware community has.

Over the last eight months, we’ve been deep in the weeds with this year’s Hackaday Prize. It’s five challenges, with twenty winners per challenge. That’s one hundred projects that will make it to the semifinals in the hopes of becoming the greatest project this year. Only one will make it, but truthfully they all deserve it. These are the one hundred finalists in the Hackaday Prize, all truly awesome projects but only one will walk home with the Grand Prize. Continue reading “These Are The 100 Finalists In The Hackaday Prize”

The Leap Motion Makes Robots Bend To Your Will

We just wrapped up the Human Computer Interface challenge in this year’s Hackaday Prize, and this project is pushing boundaries we’ve hardly seen before. [Giovanni Leal] is using a Leap Motion controller to move a robotic arm around in space.

The robot arm in question comes from Owi, and it is by every measure not a good robot arm. It is, however, an excellent toy filled with motors and plastic linkages that serves as a good stand-in for a proper robotic arm.

Control of this toy robot arm is done through a Leap Motion controller. While the Leap Motion is a few years old at this point, it is a very effective way to ‘measure’ the position and rotation of a hand in 3D space. The only thing that’s required is the Leap Motion controller itself and a tabletop.

The end result is a robot that can be controlled by a hand. While this robot arm is really just a toy, it was fun to assemble and a little bit of hardware hacking with an Arduino turned this into a working robot arm controlled by a human. Scale this up, establish an island lair, and you’re on your way to taking over the world.

Video Quick Bit: The Best In Human Computer Interfaces

We’re neck deep in the Hackaday Prize, and we just wrapped up the Human Computer Interface Challenge. This is an incredible contest to go beyond traditional mice and keyboards to find new ways to transfer your desires directly into a computer. Majenta Strongheart is back at it again, giving us a look at some of the coolest Human Computer Interface builds in this year’s Hackaday Prize

The Hackaday Prize is all about hacking, really, and there’s no better project that demonstrates this than [Curt White]’s hacked fitness tracker. This is a tiny, $35 fitness tracker that’s loaded up with Bluetooth and an ECG front end. With a few slight modifications this cheap bit of consumer electronics can become a prototyping platform for ECG/EMG/EEG projects. Awesome work.

But when it comes to Human Computer Interfaces, what’s really cool is games. Remember the Power Glove? Of course, everyone does. How about the Sega Activator, the first full-body motion controller? Yeah, now we’re getting into the good stuff. [Arcadia Labs] build a Head Tracker for their favorite space flight sims, and the results are remarkable. Take a look at the videos and you can see the promise of this kind of tech.

The biggest advance in Human-Computer Interaction in the last few years is obviously VR. Once the domain of some early-90s not-quite cyberpunk, VR is now showing up in living rooms. The HiveTracker is an ingenious device that reverse engineers the technology behind the Vive Tracker from HTC. This is a tiny little device that allows for sub-millimeter 3D positioning, and also adds a 9DOF IMU to the mix. If you’ve ever wanted to know exactly where you are, this is the project for you.

Right now we’re plowing through the Musical Instrument Challenge where we’re asking you to build something that pushes the boundaries of instrumentation. If you’re building a synth, we want to see it. If you’re making music with vacuum tubes, we want to see it. Got one of those guitars that are like, double guitars? Yes, we want that too. Twenty of the Musical Instrument Challenge submissions will be selected to move on to the finals and win $1000 in the process. The top five entries of the 2018 Hackaday Prize will split $100,000! This is your chance, so enter now!

Twenty Projects That Just Won the Human Computer Interface Challenge

The greatest hardware competition on the planet is going on right now. The Hackaday Prize is the Oscars of Open Hardware. It’s the Nobel Prize of building a thing. It’s the Fields Medal of firmware development, and simply making it to the finals grants you a knighthood in the upper echelon of hardware developers.

Last week, we wrapped up the fourth challenge in The Hackaday Prize, the Human Computer Interface challenge. Now we’re happy to announce twenty of those projects have been selected to move onto the final round and have been awarded a $1000 cash prize. Congratulations to the winners of the Human Computer Interface Challenge in this year’s Hackaday Prize. Here are the winners, in no particular order:

Human Computer Interface Challenge Hackaday Prize Finalists:

Continue reading “Twenty Projects That Just Won the Human Computer Interface Challenge”

This Is Your Last Chance To Design The Greatest Human Computer Interface

This is your last chance to get your project together for the Human Computer Interface Challenge in this year’s Hackaday Prize. We’re looking for innovative interfaces for humans to talk to machines or machines to talk to humans. These are projects that make technology more intuitive, more fun, and a more natural activity. This is your time to shine, and we’re accepting entries in the Human Computer Interface Challenge in this year’s Hackaday Prize until August 27th. This is your last weekend to work on your project, folks.

This is one of the best years of the Hackaday Prize yet, with almost one thousand projects vying for the top prize of $50,000 USD. That doesn’t mean everyone else is going home empty handed; we’ve already awarded $1000 prizes to twenty projects in each of the first three challenges, and this coming Monday, we’ll be figuring out the winners to the Human Computer Interface challenge. Twenty of those finalists will be awarded $1000 USD, and move onto the final round where they’re up for the Grand Prize.

Don’t miss your last chance to get in on the Human Computer Interface Challenge in this year’s Hackaday Prize. We’re looking for an interface that could be visual, auditory, haptic, olfactory, or something never before imagined. We’re sure we’re going to see an Alexa duct taped to a drone, and that’s awesome. We’re taking all comers. Don’t wait — start your entry now.

Continue reading “This Is Your Last Chance To Design The Greatest Human Computer Interface”

Human-Computer Interface Challenge: Change How We Interact with Computers, Win Prizes

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. It’s a quote from the Wizard of Oz but also an interesting way to look at our interactions with electronics. The most natural interactions free us from thinking about the ones and zeros behind them. Your next challenge is to build an innovative interface for humans to talk to machines and machines to talk to humans. This is the Human-Computer Interface Challenge!

The Next Gen of HCI

A Human-Computer Interface (or HCI) is what we use to control computers and what they use to control us get information to us. HCIs have been evolving since the beginning. The most recent breakthroughs include touchscreens and natural-language voice interaction. But HCI goes beyond the obvious. The Nest thermostat used a novel approach to learning your habits by observing times and days that people are near it, and when the temperature setting is changed. This sort of behavior feels more like the future than having to program specific times for temperature control adjustments. But of course we need to go much further.

You don’t need to start from scratch. There are all kinds of great technologies out there offering APIs that let you harness voice commands, recognize gestures, and build on existing data sets. There are chips that make touch sensing a breeze, and open source software suites that let you get up and running with computer vision. The important thing is the idea: find something that should feel more intuitive, more fun, and more natural.

The Best Interfaces Have Yet to Be Dreamed Up

No HCI is too simple; a subtle cue that makes sure you don’t miss garbage collection day can make your day. Of course no idea is too complex; who among you will work on a well-spoken personal assistant that puts Jarvis to shame? We just saw that computers sound just like people if you only tell them to make random pauses while speaking. There’s a ton of low-hanging fruit in this field waiting to be discovered.

An HCI can be in an unexpected place, or leverage interactions not yet widely used like olfactory or galvanic responses.  A good example of this is the Medium Machine which is pictured above. It stimulates the muscles in your forearm, causing your finger to press the button. The application is up to you, and we really like it that Peter mentions that Medium Machine reaches for something that wouldn’t normally come to mind when you think about these interfaces; something that hasn’t been dreamed up yet. Get creative, get silly, have some fun, and show us how technology can be a copilot and not a dimwitted sidekick.

You have until August 27th to put your entry up on The top twenty entries will each get $1,000 and go on to the finals where cash prizes of $50,000, $20,000, $15,000, $10,000, and $5,000 await.