Hack Chat Transcript, Part 1

A event log for 2020 Hackaday Prize Hack Chat

The world needs the next great idea

dan-maloneyDan Maloney 05/27/2020 at 20:020 Comments

OK, it's high noon here, so I want to welcome everyone to the Hack Chat! I'm Dan Maloney, I'll be moderating today for Majenta Strongheart, who'll be telling us all about the 2020 Hackaday Prize.

Thanks for joining us today, Majenta!

Majenta Strongheart12:00 PM
Happy to be here!

Can you start us off by telling us a little about yourself and your involvement in THP?

Majenta Strongheart12:03 PM
Of course, I've been working at Supplyframe DesignLab for a little over three years now, I have a background in industrial design, primarily working with wood, metal, and plastics. At DesignLab I help coordinate our events, our residency program, and keep our tools and facility running smoothly :)

Robb12:05 PM

benw12:05 PM
Hello :D

Majenta Strongheart12:05 PM
Along with a team of amazing peeps at Hackaday and Supplyframe I'm helping coordinate the Hackaday Prize this year, we are very excited to have a few new aspects to this year's prize including getting nonprofit partners involved, I'm sure we'll get into that more.

James Newton12:06 PM
Majenta rocks!

Majenta Strongheart12:06 PM
thanks everyone!

So I guess that's my first question - entries don't necessarily have to address one of the four non-profit needs, correct?

rgrigg joined  the room.12:07 PM

Majenta Strongheart12:08 PM
Correct, we have a category that is sort of a catch-all for any entries not addressing a nonprofit challenge, this is the Wildcard category/ prize

Majenta Strongheart12:09 PM
The best of this category will be awarded $5k

benw12:10 PM
Will the be a breakdown list of all the entries addressing nonprofit tasks. Just so I know what I'm up against.

James Newton12:11 PM
Does a link to the prize page help?

Majenta Strongheart12:12 PM
There won't be separate lists but entrants should be tagging their projects with the challenge they are responding to, so you can explore projects in that way

benw12:12 PM
That's fair

Majenta Strongheart12:12 PM
For example:

From the Hackaday side, I can tell you that we'll be doing a post every weekday on a Prize entry. Writers pick them at random from the pool of current entries and write up a daily post for the blog. If it goes like last year, they'll publish at 11:30 Pacific each weekday.

We'll be sure to mention which category each one is under.

benw12:14 PM
Thats Great ^^

rgrigg12:15 PM
Will there be more info about specific problems the nonprofits want addressed? The HAD hivemind has cautioned in the past about geeky attempts to "solve people's problems" without input from those to be served...

Ahron Wayne12:16 PM
My main project is a system that can take super high resolution pictures of small objects. If there's a problem that could benefit from that, I'd definitely try to apply what I already have to it.

Ahron Wayne12:16 PM
on the subject of "specific problems" in need.

Majenta Strongheart12:16 PM
Yes, we've worked closely with each nonprofit partner to write up the design briefs which can be found here under "challenges" : or on the contest page in each nonprofit's project log

Majenta Strongheart12:17 PM
we will also have mentor sessions with a team member from each nonprofit offered throughout the months of June- August where they can provide feedback and answer specific questions from entrants

Majenta Strongheart12:19 PM
@Ahron Wayne I will have to think a little more on where that might be useful when it comes to the nonprofit challenges, but if it doesn't fit any of those you can always enter it as a Wildcard entry

benw12:21 PM
Can we get advice from someone to know if our project is suitable for certain nonprofit groups

benw12:22 PM
Or would this be covered by the mentors sessions if the project is selected for the next stage

Majenta Strongheart12:22 PM
you can always email or send me a message here on the io

benw12:23 PM
If I can that would be great :D Thank you

Majenta Strongheart12:23 PM
and yes, this could also be answered in a mentor session :)

Robb12:24 PM
Would any of the nonprofits be interested in a solution that'd improve childrens' medical outcomes?

Robb12:24 PM
Esp. for children w/out good parental figures?

Majenta Strongheart12:25 PM
@Robb you can see a full list of the challenges here:

Robb12:25 PM

Majenta Strongheart12:26 PM

outlawpoet12:28 PM
most of the winning projects from previous years seem quite polished, but I don't know if they started out that way or developed over time

benw12:28 PM
I've noticed that the Mentor Sessions Sign Up Form link doesn't work is this because they are fully booked

outlawpoet12:29 PM
What's the best approach for developing a project idea, publishing early and often warts and all, or polishing it until you have a complete project with good materials to put on

Majenta Strongheart12:29 PM
@benw the mentor session sign up link will be updated with the full schedule at the end of this month

benw12:30 PM
@Majenta Strongheart Oh great ^^ Thank you for the update

Majenta Strongheart12:31 PM
@outlawpoet There's been a mix of both, some have definitely developed a lot over the course of the contest. I think publishing early is great because you can get feedback from the community and participate in opportunities like the mentor sessions to get your project questions answered and the community vote/ bootstrap contest to win money along the way.

@Majenta Strongheart - some people had questions about an apparent paywall on CalEarth's website preventing them from getting further info. Can you address that?

Majenta Strongheart12:38 PM
Totally, CalEarth does have a paywall for their online courses to help support their disaster relief work, however they are committed to making these materials available, free of charge, for those who are using them for humanitarian aid. If people are interested in accessing these materials for the purpose of developing their Hackaday Prize entry, they can email CalEarth directly through their site, or email to be connected with CalEarth.

OK, that makes sense. I'll copy your reply into the comments on the announcement post if that's OK.

Majenta Strongheart12:40 PM
yes of course


Majenta Strongheart12:41 PM
We will also continue to provide additional resources/ materials for each challenge over the next few weeks in the form of video Q & As with each of the nonprofits, Hackaday articles about each nonprofit partner, and through the mentor sessions.

Majenta Strongheart12:42 PM
I think it would be great to discuss the Dream Team Microgrants since the application deadline for those are coming up on 6/2/2020

That was going to be my next question ;-)

Majenta Strongheart12:43 PM
haha perfect, great minds!

Majenta Strongheart12:45 PM
We recognize it’s difficult to secure work during these uncertain times, so we wanted to find a way to be able to support our community more immediately through these microgrants. Dream Team challenges represent an opportunity to join a three-person task force. We are essentially recruiting top talent for our nonprofit partners, to help them solve some of their most pressing challenges. Each dream team member will be awarded two $3,000 grants for their work throughout the months of June and July.

So not exactly an internship, but more of a task force kind of gig?

Majenta Strongheart12:46 PM
A list of these challenges, and the link to apply can be found here:

Majenta Strongheart12:48 PM
Yes, DesignLab's Product Development Engineer, @Giovanni , will be helping as a project manager for these teams, they will also work closely with mentors from each nonprofit to get to a prototype in two months.

Giovanni12:49 PM
Did someone call me? :)

James Newton12:49 PM
That's a really good idea. Providing some support for applicants early on.

Feels like the questions have slowed down a bit. Does anyone have any last-minute questions or comments for Majenta?

Majenta Strongheart12:55 PM
@James Newton thanks! Just want to clarify, the Dream Teams will be working on slightly different challenges than the other Hackaday Prize entrants. If individuals are accepted on to a Dream Team, they will not be eligible to win the grand prizes in November.

James Newton12:56 PM
And there is support via the mentors (assuming you can sign up still) for other entrants?

Majenta Strongheart12:56 PM

benw12:57 PM
I was just about to ask that question.

Majenta Strongheart12:57 PM
Mentor sessions are open to all Hackaday Prize entrants :)

James Newton12:57 PM
it looks like their aren't any slots open at this time however. Will there be more?

James Newton12:58 PM

Majenta Strongheart12:58 PM
There will be 1-2 offered each week, the full schedule will be updated at the end of this month .

James Newton12:59 PM
If anyone needs help with embedded programming, I'm happy to help as time allows. (for what that's worth, LOL)

benw12:59 PM
@James Newton That would be great you could help :D

OK, that's our hour, so I want to thank Majenta for her time today, and thanks to everyone for coming out to learn more about the Hackaday Prize this year. Best of luck to all entrants! And I'll post a transcript of this chat for reference in a few.

Thanks Majenta! And Giovanni ;-)

James Newton1:00 PM
Yeah, but in this group, help with embedded programming is like "help me pick up the pen I dropped"... like you can't turn around without stepping on an embedded programmer.

benw1:00 PM
Thank you Majenta

Majenta Strongheart1:01 PM
Thanks @Dan Maloney ! Appreciate everyone's questions :)