Google takes Science Fairs global

Teen hackers get ready to compete for cash and prizes. Google, the big G itself, is sponsoring a Science Fair but it’s not in a town near you, it’s online (no surprise there). Project entries will populate the content of a new corner of the Googleverse, with contestants 13-18 competing alone or as a team. The grand prize is a trip to the Galapagos Islands for ten days, but there are also cash scholarships for all of the winners. Check out their promo video for the event after the break.

If you’re a college student who’s too old to be eligible don’t forget to keep your eyes open for details about 2011 Google Summer of Code. Last year’s information is still up, but they usually release the details sometime in the first quarter.

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Roll the D’Icey

Most of the dice related hacks we run into have to do with pseudo random number generation, but today we saw something different. This sleek looking jumbo die is actually a prize holding box opened by a secret sequence of rotations. Using an accelerometer and an ATmega 328 with a sub-micro servo to control the locking mechanism. Worried about the batteries going flat and losing your treasure indefinitely? Good news! The batteries are accessable without giving away the secret inside.

It also turns out that this is an update to an earlier project from the same laboratory, so be sure to check that out as well to see where this build came from. Code is available for anyone looking to make their own, as well as a useful parts list.

[via Hacked Gadgets]

Kilobuck Open Kinect Project Prize

Full of video and audio sensors, the newly released Kinect is Microsoft’s answer to Nintendo’s Wii MotionPlus and Sony’s PlayStation Move. Now there is money up for grabs to hack it. Adafruit is offering up a one thousand dollar prize to open source the driver for the Kinect. What do they want this driver to do? They want RGB and distance values. We’re excited to see the hacks that will come around because of this product, and now that prize money is involved, everything has been turned up a notch.

Update: The bounty has been raised to $2000 after a Microsoft response to CNET:

But Microsoft isn’t taking kindly to the bounty offer. “Microsoft does not condone the modification of its products,” a company spokesperson told CNET. “With Kinect, Microsoft built in numerous hardware and software safeguards designed to reduce the chances of product tampering. Microsoft will continue to make advances in these types of safeguards and work closely with law enforcement and product safety groups to keep Kinect tamper-resistant.”

Buy Break Build: A Hackaday Contest Series

We are proud to introduce a new contest here at Hackaday. Buy Break Build will be regular event where we challenge you to make something from something else. We want to work out your hacker brains to come up with inventive ways to use limited parts. We may have a specific product or genre in mind, and a specific out come we would like to get, then we let you guys loose to make it happen. The contests will usually be judged for winners in 3 categories; best presentation,  best use of only the existing parts, and most massive overkill. You don’t have to be an electronics engineer, or even know how to program a microcontroller. You simply document your entire hack with pictures and notes, then submit it to and we’ll choose the winners. Those winners will be awarded fabulous prizes and Internet fame as we’ll publish your writeup for everyone to enjoy.

Here’s an example to make things a little more clear. Don’t actually go do this one, it is just an example.

Contest: Radio controlled faces.  Everyone has an old R/C car lying around right? Can you use those parts to make an animatronic face? It doesn’t have to be humanoid, but at least recognizable as a face. There would be 3 winners, the one that made the best use of only the included parts, the one that had the best presentation, and the one that went absolutely the furthest overboard.

Remember, this one is just an example, so please don’t run out and get started just yet. We’ll be announcing our first Buy Break Build very soon.