Supplyframe DesignLab: 2021 Hackaday Prize

A global hardware design challenge focused on widespread and impactful innovation.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021 07:00 am PST - Wednesday, October 27, 2021 07:00 am PST Local time zone:
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2021 Hackaday Prize Overview

Main Website :: Official Rules :: FAQ

Dream Team Grants :: Mentor Sessions

Rethink, Refresh, Rebuild

This year, we are asking you all to rethink and refresh familiar concepts across multiple facets of hardware. How can we communicate more effectively through different display technologies? How can supportive tech expand its reach and also bring new potential engineers into the fold? What defines a robot? In 2021, we’re challenging the open source hardware community to answer these questions with their unique and capable designs. 


Launch 5/18/2021

Challenge 1: Rethink Displays 5/18/2021 - 6/14/2021

Challenge 2: Refresh Work-From-Home Life 6/14/2021 - 7/19/2021

Challenge 3: Reimagine Supportive Tech 7/19/2021 - 8/23/2021

Challenge 4: Redefine Robots 8/23/2021 - 9/27/2021

Challenge 5: Reactivate Wildcard 9/27/2021 - 10/27/2021

Finalists Close 11/7/2021

Winners Announced on or around 11/19/2021


Grand Prize - $25,000 + Supplyframe DesignLab Residency

Second Place - $15,000

Third Place - $10,000

Fourth Place - $5,000

Fifth Place - $3,000

Top 10 Finalists from each challenge - $500 

The Hackaday Prize is in its 8th Year: Our History

In 2014, we launched The Hackaday Prize to our smart, talented, enthusiastic community of engineers, scientists, designers and creatives everywhere. Over 600 projects were created, and the winner, SatNOGS, now has a foundation where they are continuing the work they started here.

In 2015, we challenged the Hackaday community to use their superpowers again. The results told the story of nearly 900 Hackaday Prize entrants using their unique skills to make big changes in peoples' lives. 2015's Hackaday Prize winner, the Eyedrivomatic, directly impacted those living with limited mobility.

In 2016, we had nearly 1,100 entries, and the Hackaday Prize winner was Dtto, a search and rescue robot. It's also an open source project that continues its journey at the Supplyframe Design Lab.

In 2017, the winner of the Hackaday Prize was Alex Williams, with an underwater explorer robot. Alex continued the work on his project at the Supplyframe Design Lab.

In 2018, the winner was Dexter, a 5-axis robotically controlled arm with insane precision. Dexter is now a product and a fledgling business located in Las Vegas, NV.

In 2019, FieldKit won the grand prize, and has continued to push the boundaries of open source environmental sensing with their organization Conservify.  

Last year in 2020, The Byte, took the grand prize home with an open-source, mouth-actuated input device for people with physical challenges. 

It is now time to start the 2021 Hackaday Prize. In keeping with the incredible hardware community, we hope to activate the next generation of innovative open source hardware solutions.

Thank you to our Sponsors: 

Adobe Portable Document Format - 211.34 kB - 06/25/2021 at 19:36


  • 2021 Hackaday Prize Rules Update

    Lutetium06/28/2021 at 14:32 0 comments

    We have updated the official rules for entries:

    We have made a change to the entry requirements in the 2021 Hackaday Prize Official Rules to help ensure that more of your excellent projects will be judged during each entry round of the contest.

    We found that some entries had published copious information about their projects, but did so in the details section of the page and hadn't published the minimum number of project logs needed to be included in the judging. The purpose of that requirement is to ensure in-depth information was included, but "How thoroughly documented were the design process & design decisions?" and "How complete is the project?" are already two of the judging criteria. For that reason we have removed the "7. Show at least four (4) Project Log updates on your Project Profile." requirement from all of the Challenge Rounds this year.

    All finalists will still be required to publish at least 10 project logs or updates to be eligible for the big prizes. You can read through the complete contest rules by clicking the "Official Rules" button on the Prize section of the contest website.

  • Dream Team Grants

    Lutetium05/18/2021 at 13:52 0 comments

    Dream Team challenges represent an opportunity to join a three-person task force. If selected, you will be awarded two $3,000 grants to participate in a two-month long engineering sprint. Apply individually, or as a team

    The Teams: 

    The Byte

    Apply by July 18th to join The Byte Team. 

    The Byte was the 2020 Hackaday Prize winner, a hands free universal interface.  

    Team Eja

    Team Eja is returning to complete the next phase of development for their intelligent buoy.  Follow their journey here.

  • Mentor Sessions

    Lutetium05/18/2021 at 04:57 0 comments

    Here's your chance to ask a professional mentor the hard questions about your Hackaday Prize entry...

    Let's get hacking! This year we've challenged you to take your Hackaday Prize entries to the next level, but we know prototyping isn't easy, especially in isolation. So we've created a space for you to ask one of our expert mentors questions about your entry. This is your opportunity to get one on one support and direct feedback, no matter what stage your project is in. The schedule will be updated every two weeks. Learn more about the mentors here

    Space is limited so sign up today at: 

    Mentor Sessions Sign Up Form

    As part of our mentor sessions this year, we want your help finding the best and most inspiring individuals out there! Nominate yourself, or someone you know! 

    Nominate a mentor here

  • Challenge 1: Rethink Displays

    Lutetium05/18/2021 at 04:48 2 comments

    Top 10 Finalists:


    Entry Period 7:01 a.m. P.D.T on May 18, 2021 - 07:00 a.m. P.D.T on June 14, 2021.

    Finalists Announced 6/21

    Experiment with new display technologies or refresh older ones to help people communicate better or more effectively.  

    Whether it’s six feet or six miles apart, displays are how we express ourselves, communicate, and interact with the virtual world. For this first challenge, we want you to experiment with new display technologies, repurpose or refresh older ones, and redefine how displays connect us to the technology we know and love. Your designs for this challenge should repurpose display technologies to communicate with others more effectively. 

    This could look like: 

    • Leverage various technologies to create unique displays (LEDs, POV, e-Ink, etc.)
    • Portable and low-power display solutions for the field
    • New approaches to UI and visual communication 
    • Create eye-friendly displays without the need for filters or glasses

  • Challenge 2: Refresh Work-From-Home Life

    Lutetium05/18/2021 at 04:45 0 comments

    Top 10 Finalists:


    Entry Period 7:01 a.m. P.D.T on June 14, 2021 - 7:00 a.m. P.D.T on July 19, 2021

    Finalists Announced 7/26

    Design tools or devices that make it easier to work from home, or help achieve a healthier work-life balance. 

    We’ve all become experts at working from home, but with remote work sticking around into the future, how can we enrich and enhance our home offices or hackerspaces? For this challenge, we want to see solutions for ergonomics, for productivity, and anything else that transforms the concept of working from home. Your design should make it easier to work from home or achieve a healthier work-life balance. 

    This could look like: 

    • Open source options for ergonomic standing desks, workbenches, etc. 
    • Productivity tools like timers or reminders to take breaks and stretch 
    • Hacking chairs, lighting, keyboards, mice, etc. 

  • Challenge 3: Reimagine Supportive Tech

    Lutetium05/18/2021 at 04:43 0 comments

    Entry Period 7:01 a.m. P.D.T on July 19, 2021 - 7:00 a.m. P.D.T on August 23, 202

    Finalists Announced 8/30

    Create technology that acts as a better, more inclusive version of an existing device, or design beginner-friendly tech for aspiring engineers!

    Many projects across the maker community begin life as the solution to a problem. How can we fill a gap in hardware? What would a modular version of that device look like? How can we bring more people into the fold through more accessible and entry-level projects? These are the questions this challenge seeks to answer. Your solution should make it easier for others to build electronics or make electronics devices more accessible; modular, hackable, or affordable. 

    This could look like: 

    • Modular versions of existing hardware concepts 
    • Hacking hardware to be more user-friendly and inclusive to all types of mobility
    • Creating beginner-friendly projects or jumping off points into STEM education

  • Challenge 4: Redefine Robots

    Lutetium05/18/2021 at 04:41 1 comment

    Entry Period 7:01 a.m. P.D.T on August 23, 2021 - 7:00 a.m. P.D.T on September 27, 2021

    Finalists Announced 10/4

    Rethink robotics with this challenge, utilizing hardware to create an assistant, a companion, or something else entirely! 

    Whether it's a friendly digital face to keep you grounded, or a functional robotic arm to assist you in your projects, we want to see the droids and robots of the future! How can robotic companions or assistants help us thrive in this new normal? Your designs should utilize robotics in a unique way, as a personal assistant, a friendly companion, or something else entirely!  

    This could look like: 

    • Companion bots that provide motivation, positivity, or work-life balance reminders
    • Collaborative (cobots) that assist with simple tasks like pick-and-place or other functions
    • Robots that translate or otherwise transcribe spoken dictation 

  • Challenge 5: Reactivate Wildcard

    Lutetium05/18/2021 at 04:37 4 comments

    Entry Period 7:01 a.m. P.D.T on September 27, 2021 - 07:00 a.m. P.D.T on October 27, 2021

    Finalists Announced 11/1

    Got an idea that doesn’t quite fit into our other challenges? 

    The wildcard is for you! This is where anything goes, so show us how you plan to hack the new normal and build a better future! Your designs should stand apart from the other challenges, but still fit within the overall concept of the prize this year: to refresh or redefine the technologies we know and love in order to create a brighter future for all. 

    This could look like: 

    • A modular synth 
    • An environmental sensing kit for small- scale farming 
    • A countertop plastic recycling machine

  • FAQ

    Lutetium05/18/2021 at 04:35 1 comment

    The 2021 Hackaday Prize FAQ

    How do I enter?

    There is a drop down menu below your project image. Simply start a project and click the dropdown, from there you will see 2021 Hackaday Prize. You will only be able to enter the challenge that is open at the time you are submitting. 

    What is considered an entry?

    Put simply, you need an idea, an image, and documentation. To start, choose a challenge to address, or talk about a technology problem facing people today and your idea of what a solution might be and enter it to the Wildcard Challenge. 

    From your documentation, others should be able to build what you're working on, and incorporate the best ideas into their own projects. To be eligible for judging you must have the entry round requirements completed by the close date of the challenge you are entering.

    Those who need a little more inspiration will excel in any of the first four challenges. But everyone should enter the Wildcard Challenge too as it encourages you to plan well, working though problems before they become huge prototyping issues.

    What are the 2021 Hackaday Prize Challenges? When do they start/end?

    Choose to enter any of these five challenges. 

    • Rethink Displays
    • Refresh Work-From-Home Life
    • Reimagine Supportive Tech
    • Redefine Robots
    • Reactivate Wildcard

    How do I see which projects have already been entered?

    Check out this full list of official entries.

    How much of my Project Profile will I be judged upon?

    All parts of your project will be judged. We recommend you start with a brief summary to provide an overall understanding of your project. From there, explain each part in detail, adding images and diagrams as needed. A video is only required for the final round, but if you want to make one to help walk through your project that is a great idea.

    Where do I submit my prize project entry video?

    On the Edit Project page add the link to your entry video in the Contest Entry Videos field and click save.

    What does "open" actually mean?

    Open refers to how much you have documented about your project and how much you will make available to the public when you push your project out into the world. Optimally, we would like to see open source drivers, hardware, and development tools; the final project would also be licensed as open source (using the wide range of licenses that are possible). This is a judging preference, so providing design files in a format that uses open source tools (and therefore allows others to easily use or modify them), will help you with the best chance of edging out your competition.

    What are the judges using as criteria for who moves on to the final round?

    You must complete the minimum entry requirements for the Challenge. Challenge entries will be judged on the following criteria:

    • How effective of a solution is the entry to the challenge it is responding to?
    • How thoroughly documented were the design process & design decisions?
    • How ready is this design to be manufactured?
    • How complete is the project?

    What are the judges using as criteria to select the top ten winners?

    Finalist entries will be judged on the following criteria:

    • Concept- Is the project creative, original, functional, and pushing boundaries? Does the project effectively address the selected challenge?
    • Design- Is there a depth of design detail available (like a system design, CAD models, project test methods, etc.)? Is there base-level planning for the functionality (e.g., functional block diagram, list of specifications and descriptions of how they will be met, etc.)? How user-friendly is the design? 
    • Production- Is the project realistically reproducible (taking into consideration necessary materials, skills, and production processes)? Are the manufacturing processes detailed? Are those processes realistic for scalability?
    • Benchmark- How well is the project impact and viability demonstrated? Are estimated costs realistic? How well does the project improve upon other designs? ...
    Read more »

View all 9 contest logs

Enjoy this contest?



mras2an wrote 08/29/2021 at 18:23 point


For my project I need to introduce on my video a short sample of music (like Beatles, or Pink Floyd less than 30sec) to show the sound quality of the project.

Does it respect copyright to enter the hackaday contest?

Thank you.

  Are you sure? yes | no

William wrote 07/28/2021 at 07:04 point

Hey hey! I'd like to submit Retro Modules for consideration as a project that helps Reimagine Supportive Tech! The project made it to the semi-finals during the 2015 Hackaday Prize contest. The project has certainly grown since then. The rules for the 2021 Prize indicate Retro Modules remains eligible, but unfortunately I am unable to submit it for consideration via the web form. Please let me know if a similar project needs to be created focused specifically on Retro Modules' supportive tech capabilities. Many thanks!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dusan Petrovic wrote 07/28/2021 at 12:12 point

Hi @yesnoio - please email Thanks!

  Are you sure? yes | no

William wrote 08/09/2021 at 02:27 point

Thanks @Dusan Petrovic! I reached out on the 28th. They haven't been able to respond yet, unfortunately. No worries. If there's no response by Thursday I'll move forward with creating the similar project.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Michael Pick wrote 06/23/2021 at 19:30 point

Any updates on finalists from Challenge 1?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Olya Gry wrote 07/26/2021 at 17:39 point

Hey! I saw them post the finalists on Instagram and here

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dusan Petrovic wrote 07/28/2021 at 12:00 point

You can see the finalists in the project logs section

  Are you sure? yes | no

ihackrobot wrote 06/23/2021 at 18:00 point

how do i submit an entry for the challenge 2 contest. Is there a way I can just link my previous project here at hackaday for submission?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Andreas Kahler wrote 06/22/2021 at 09:39 point

Shouldn't the finalists from Challenge 1 be announced by now?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Thøger Kappel wrote 06/24/2021 at 10:03 point

I'm following this as well? Haven't heard or seen a thing yet? 🤔💭

  Are you sure? yes | no

Andreas Kahler wrote 06/24/2021 at 10:07 point

Nope... :-/

  Are you sure? yes | no

Michael Pick wrote 06/28/2021 at 12:44 point

I checked back today hoping there would be an update. It would be nice to know which project made it to the next stage so everyone could start refining their designs, 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Olya Gry wrote 07/26/2021 at 17:41 point

Hey! I saw them post the finalists on Instagram and here

  Are you sure? yes | no

Andreas Kahler wrote 07/27/2021 at 12:27 point

Yes, in the meantime the winners for round one are announced and our project is one of them! :-)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Eric Stewart wrote 06/13/2021 at 05:29 point

The entry date range for challenge 4 is incorrect in the details section. It should end 9/27 not on 10/27. Cheers!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Andrew MacPherson wrote 05/29/2021 at 21:07 point

If I have a project that I have been working on but havent written it up yet, or how others could use it (I am in the process of doing this now) could it still be entered into this?

  Are you sure? yes | no

John Opsahl wrote 05/22/2021 at 18:59 point

I like how 50 finalists (10 from each category) will get $500. It will be fun to see how those 50 finalists use that money to compete for the grand prize. $500 is at least one or two design cycles for most projects. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

David wrote 05/18/2021 at 23:42 point

If a single project can fit the theme of multiple challenges, can it be submitted to several? Or should it only be submitted in one of the challenges? (Sorry if I missed this in the rules!)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Majenta Strongheart wrote 05/19/2021 at 18:33 point

Yes a project can be submitted to several challenges! Section 4 of the official rules: 

A submission may be entered to any or all of the Challenge Rounds as long as it meets the requirements and addresses the appropriate theme for each Challenge Round in which it is submitted. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

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