The 2018 Hackaday Prize

Build Hope. Design the Future.
The power is in your hands, and the PRIZE is just in reach...

Monday, March 12, 2018 12:00 am PST - Saturday, November 3, 2018 06:00 pm PST Local time zone:
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Build Hope - 2018 Hackaday Prize Overview

Main Website :: Official Rules :: FAQ

The Hackaday Prize is the Academy Awards of Open Hardware, a grand competition where thousands of hardware hackers, makers and artists compete to build a better future.

Enter one (or more) of five themed rounds for a chance to win $$$ and go on to the finals where our Celebrity Judges will decide who will win the 2018 Hackaday Prize of $50,000. 


The prize money is just the icing on the cake. What this is really about is taking the world in our hands and being the makers who make the future we need. Will you build hope?

Open Hardware Design Challenge

Your Challenge: Design the best plan possible for the boldest idea you can consider. No prototypes are necessary for this challenge, only pictures, charts and theory. Winners will have the opportunity to enter the finals, whether they fit within the following challenges or not.

Robotics Module Challenge

Your Challenge: Build a module that can be used in robotics projects across the world, and show your module functioning in a robotics application

Power Harvesting Challenge

Your Challenge: Build a module that harvests ambient power for various applications and show your module powering a project.

Human - Computer Interface Challenge

Your Challenge: Build an innovative interface for humans to talk to machines or machines to talk to humans, and show your project in action either controlling something or passing information from somewhere.

Musical Instrument Challenge

Your Challenge: Build a module, interface, or full instrument that evolves or goes far beyond modern music instrumentation.  Show your project in action by creating at least one song with it, however abstract. (Don’t worry, this is an engineering challenge, not a composition competition.)

The Hackaday Prize is in its 5th 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 the lives of many with limited mobility.

In 2016, we had nearly 1,100 entries, and the Hackaday Prize winner was Dtto, a search and rescue robot, an open source project that will continue to be worked on 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, we've launched the biggest challenge of all time -  the 5th annual Hackaday Prize! 

  • FAQ for the 2018 Hackaday Prize

    Lutetium03/13/2018 at 15:09 0 comments


    If you have more questions, please email us at We look forward to seeing your projects!

    How do I enter?

    There is a dropdown menu below your project image. Simply start a project and click the dropdown, from there you will see 2018 Hackaday Prize.

    Here is a convenient video tutorial on how to enter your project into the Hackaday Prize:  

    What is considered an entry?

    Put simply, you need an idea, and image, and documentation. To start you simply talk about a technology problem facing people today and your idea of what a solution might be. Yes, you can enter the first challenge with just an idea and be eligible to be selected to move to the final round. This is what Challenge 1 is all about.

    Challenges 2 - 5 invite you to start building something and documenting. You need 4 project logs or instructions in Challenges 2 - 5 to move into the finals.

    What are the 5 Challenges? When do they start/end?

    Each of the 5 Challenges are 6-weeks long and run one after the other. The 5 challenges are:

    • Hardware Design Challenge: 3/12 - 4/23
    • Robotics Module Challenge: 4/23 - 6/4
    • Power Harvesting Challenge: 6/4 - 7/16
    • Human - Computer Interface Challenge: 7/16 - 8/27
    • Musical Instrument Challenge: 8/27 - 10/8

    When are the winners for each round announced?

    Winners will be announced about 1-2 weeks after the close of each round.

    Can I enter if I'm under 18 years old?

    Minors between 13 and 18 are eligible to enter the 2017 Hackaday Prize.

    When you enter as a team of collaborators, there is a link “younger than 18” next to the check box (see image below). When you click that link, it brings you to a parental consent form link (dropbox), which you should have a parent fill out and then upload using the “choose file” button below.

    Here is a link to the form:

    Here is a convenient video tutorial on how to enter the Hackaday Prize as a minor: 

    I was a finalist in 2014, 2015, 2016, or 2017 can I enter the same project again?

    If you won anything in a previous presentation of The Hackaday Prize that project is not eligible for entry in this Contest. You may enter with a substantially different project.

    Can I re-enter my project from 2014, 2015, 2016, or 2017?

    You can enter a previous Prize entry, but you must create a new project page and the project must be significantly different from when previously entered and show meaningful development during the course of the Contest.

    How many Challenges do I need to participate in?

    You must participate in at least one challenge to be eligible for the final round. We encourage you to participate in more but it is not required.

    Is it possible to win more than one Challenge?

    Yes. The same Project Profile may be entered in any or all of the challenge rounds using the "Submit Project To..." menu found on your project page. Projects should adhere to the theme of the challenge so you may also consider entering several projects in different rounds.

    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...

    Read more »

View contest log

Enjoy this contest?



Kris Winer wrote 12 hours ago point

My project (Hackable CMWX1ZZABZ LoRa Devices) seems to be going backwards on the leader board. I had 12 likes last night while this morning I have 11. Even though the project page shows 21. What kind of new math is this?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Sergei V. Bogdanov wrote 03/26/2018 at 22:35 point

Hello. What about video - is it some rules? Have I to make some kind of subtitles "hackaday" or just place the video on tube?

  Are you sure? yes | no

alpha le ciel wrote 03/15/2018 at 15:40 point

In design challenge , it don't deserve prototype anymore ?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Sophi Kravitz wrote 03/17/2018 at 19:14 point

For the first challenge you only need a system diagram and an image. Of course, having a prototype will set you ahead of those who don't 😀

  Are you sure? yes | no

bigmike.wnhs wrote 03/15/2018 at 13:46 point

so this is my first year and I was wondering do I only have to enter in one category to be eligible for a final round or do I enter every round and have to win all 5 rounds 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Benchoff wrote 03/15/2018 at 15:36 point

You have to enter and win one round to make it to the finals.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Vishnu M Aiea wrote 03/15/2018 at 07:09 point

Quote : "Challenge five is for those who don't like to be tied down. Build anything you want to solve the problem you have chosen. Bask in your own creativity."

Challenge five is the "Musical Instrument Challenge", right ? How does it satisfy "build anything you want" scenario ? Or did you mean challenge one ?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Ted Yapo wrote 03/15/2018 at 11:59 point

This looks like the description was left over from last year, where the final challenge was "anything goes"

  Are you sure? yes | no

Vishnu M Aiea wrote 03/15/2018 at 12:03 point

Ha ha.. Seems so. Some other parts are also conflicting.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Yann Guidon / YGDES wrote 03/17/2018 at 18:16 point

@Lutetium should solve that, right ?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Richard Hogben wrote 03/17/2018 at 19:49 point

Should be fixed now

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dave Nghiem wrote 03/13/2018 at 20:31 point

Alright, so I have a  question about re-entering an entry from previous years. I have a few projects that didn't make it into any kind of classing during those years contests. However, I have spent a lot of time updating log entries, design files, and most importantly, building up an audience following those projects. Do we have to create a whole new project page for that project if we want to enter the competition? I want to check in regarding that, especially after spending a lot of time building up a following on those project pages, I feel that if I didn't place in previous contests, I don't see why a whole new project page has to be made, especially if that project is ongoing and building an audience that's following it. To suddenly have to create a whole new project seems like a waste of effort.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Lutetium wrote 03/14/2018 at 18:59 point

Hi @Dave Nghiem - You can enter a previous Prize entry, but you must create a new project page and the project must be significantly different from when previously entered and show meaningful development during the course of the Contest. Thanks!

  Are you sure? yes | no

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