Hackaday Prize Hack Chat

Entering the Hackaday Prize? Thinking about it? Join previous Hackaday Prize winners and judges to discuss how you can place!

Friday, March 23, 2018 12:00 pm PDT Local time zone:
Hack Chat
Similar projects worth following

Join this Hack Chat by clicking on the JOIN HACK CHAT button. 


Alberto Molina, 2016 Prize winner, and Elecia White, 2015 and 2016 Hackaday Prize judge, will be co-hosting the Hack Chat this week. Stephen Tranovich, Technical Community Leader at will answer any and all questions about entering the 2018 Prize.

This Hack Chat is at noon PDT, Friday, March 23rd.

Time Zones got you down? Here's a handy count down timer!

Now in its fifth year, The 2018 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.

This year's theme is Build Hope. With all of the issues facing our society today, we encourage all of you to put your amazing ideas and creativity to use and Build Something that Matters.

Elecia White, Hackaday Prize judge in 2015 and 2016 will join us to discuss what makes a standout entry from a judging perspective. Elecia is an embedded software engineer at Logical Elegance, Inc, author of O’Reilly’s Making Embedded Systems, and host of the podcast. She enjoys sharing her enthusiasm for engineering and devices. 

We also welcome Alberto Molina, winner of the 2016 Hackaday Prize with Dtto, a search and rescue robot, an open source project that is continuing to be worked on. Alberto Molina is an Electronic Engineer who works to design the next generation of robots, the ones that will rule the world. Believes in the open-source technology as a way to empower people. He loves motorcycles and cats.

Stephen Tranovich, Technical Community Leader at is working hard on the Prize this year. Stephen will answer any and all questions about entering the 2018 Prize.

In this chat, we'll discuss:

  • What was the Prize judged on?
  • New challenges in the 2018 Hackaday Prize 
  • Achievements
  • Questions and answers!

  • Hackaday Prize Hack Chat Transcript

    Lutetium03/23/2018 at 20:14 0 comments

    Stephen Tranovich says:12:05 PM
    Let's get started! A big welcome to @Elecia White and @Alberto! Could you both take a second to introduce yourselves and tell us about your relationship to the prize? I'll do the same!

    Kevin says:12:06 PM
    The lighting by the workbench wouldn't be that good and it would have to be a camera for a Pi as that is the only computer there.

    ðeshipu says:12:06 PM
    it doesn't have to be good

    Elecia White says:12:07 PM
    Hello! I was a judge for the first two years and then advisor judge for one year. I'm not judging this year so I can give you any hints I have.

    Aman Garg says:12:07 PM
    @Kevin i think any good mobile camera works which can capture the working prototype

    Kevin says:12:07 PM
    @Stephen Tranovich I suppose it depends on how many rounds there are. I got through the first (or second?) round but I didn't have a video so that was as far as I got. Didn't expect to win as my projects are a bit too specialized.

    Stephen Tranovich says:12:08 PM
    Hey everyone! I'm Stephen, and I work at Hackaday! I run the Prize, and do other community related things (you'll be seeing me more and more around these parts) along with hacking on my own projects!

    Stephen Tranovich says:12:08 PM
    I will be one of the judges for the earlier rounds, and not for the finals.

    Jeremy says:12:09 PM
    Hi guys

    wynhoff, james says:12:09 PM
    @Elecia White , I posted my question on the discussion page, but I'm curious your tips for making an easily readable project log, I have a terrible habit of only documenting successful parts of the project, and do you like to see project logs of the failures and pitfalls as well?

    Elecia White says:12:09 PM
    I sympathize a lot with the video difficulty, make sure it is on Stephen's list! There are lots of ways to solve the problem.

    Vishnu M Aiea says:12:09 PM
    So the 5 rounds have separate judges.. Hmm. I thought otherwise!

    Michael Barton-Sweeney says:12:09 PM
    Hi all!

    Elecia White says:12:10 PM
    I think the first five rounds have Hackaday judges but the last round (final) have the celebrity judges (what a silly name).

    Stephen Tranovich says:12:10 PM
    Let's get rolling! First let's get started answering some of the existing confusion around judges and around videos.

    Mike Szczys says:12:10 PM
    I certainly consider @Elecia White a celebrity

    Josh Starnes says:12:11 PM
    Ok so what all is expected in the videos? and length

    John Schuch says:12:11 PM
    Yes, @Elecia White is a celeb.

    Elecia White says:12:11 PM
    First, the video doesn't have to be fancy. A web cam or a phone is good.

    Stephen Tranovich says:12:12 PM
    Correct @Elecia White, the first 5 rounds are judged by technical members of Hackaday staff and their associates. All of the winners of those first 5 rounds can then enter the finals, which are judged by the separate group of celebrity judges

    Elecia White says:12:12 PM
    You don't have to edit it if you want to take it all in one well-rehearsed blob

    Elecia White says:12:12 PM
    You don't have to talk, the Raman Pi project (flatcat?) got to finals without ever showing his face and he use a voice synthesizer

    Elecia White says:12:13 PM
    So if you don't want to show your face or you hate your voice, don't let that stop you.

    Kevin says:12:13 PM
    celebrity judges? Makes you think of some TV reality show. :)

    Stephen Tranovich says:12:13 PM
    Video is only required for entering the finals. So you can enter the first 5 rounds, even win some, and never have to make a video.

    Elecia White says:12:13 PM
    A powerpoint that you narrate would ok. A video of your hardware that you narrate would be better.

    Stephen Tranovich says:12:13 PM

    Josh Starnes says:12:14 PM
    Does your project being published in a magazine hurt or disqualify your entry?...

    Read more »

View event log

Enjoy this event?



Kristjan Berce wrote 03/25/2018 at 15:56 point

Hey. Is the Hackaday prize returning this year?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Lutetium wrote 03/27/2018 at 21:08 point

Yes, it's here!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Josh Starnes wrote 03/23/2018 at 19:50 point

does the popularity of your project , the amount of likes and follows calculate into judging?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Josh Starnes wrote 03/23/2018 at 19:41 point

do you need to apply more than once? When i apply is it as is or does the submission update along with the project log / page?

  Are you sure? yes | no

TKTS wrote 03/23/2018 at 19:32 point

How many secret badges are there?

  Are you sure? yes | no

TKTS wrote 03/23/2018 at 19:31 point

What is the chance of a per say iron man suit winning something? What are some ways I can grab the judges attention?

  Are you sure? yes | no

ActualDragon wrote 03/23/2018 at 20:09 point

very subtle :p

  Are you sure? yes | no

TKTS wrote 03/23/2018 at 20:22 point


  Are you sure? yes | no

Yann Guidon / YGDES wrote 03/24/2018 at 17:11 point

Depends on how you can bribe them ? (snickering mischievously)

  Are you sure? yes | no

TKTS wrote 03/25/2018 at 23:37 point


  Are you sure? yes | no

Josh Starnes wrote 03/23/2018 at 19:30 point

I am using a wheelchair platform for the initial build , but the idea is to make a model that can be molded and cast from urethane resin, and the design and such be avail for anyone to use. I also planned on selling the parts if a person or group wants a kit to get them moving forward faster. it is ok that the end goal is to make something that has to be 3d printed and ofcourse lots of labor , or sell a kit to make it easier. is the suggestion of monetary gain bad for the submission?

  Are you sure? yes | no

James Wynhoff wrote 03/23/2018 at 19:26 point

Is there a way to break up a very large scale project into sub-projects that are linked?

I will have client devices that will have their own project, but I also want to document the server side project as well, (without clogging up the client device project)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Aman Garg wrote 03/23/2018 at 19:23 point

What are the general parameters for judging a round ? Does the scope of application have any bearing on the decision ? I am curious to understand how the entries are compared?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Josh Starnes wrote 03/23/2018 at 19:19 point

hello, does having you current project entry published in a magazine hurt or help or disqualify my entry?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Michael Barton-Sweeney wrote 03/23/2018 at 19:18 point

Concerning the first round: Is it better to focus on (1) documenting the overall scope and intent of the project, (2) documenting the work that has already been done, or (3) working on the project?

  Are you sure? yes | no

James Wynhoff wrote 03/23/2018 at 19:18 point

What is the general consensus of using off-the-shelf parts in your project? I cant help but feel that anything with a custom PCB puts it on a higher caliber to start?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Vishnu Mohanan wrote 03/23/2018 at 19:17 point

When will the prizes for initial 5 rounds be handed out ? Just after each rounds ? If so, we could improve our designs/prototypes for other rounds.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Ben Hencke wrote 03/23/2018 at 19:14 point

How much do you judge on concept/results vs execution? Sometimes people can have a good idea and the drive to make it happen, but are not seasoned industry professionals. Are hacks OK?

  Are you sure? yes | no

John Schuch wrote 03/23/2018 at 19:12 point

So what's up with the disappearing followers? Will they be coming back?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Bhavesh Kakwani wrote 03/23/2018 at 19:12 point

How do you recommend I get the word out about my project? In a respectful way...I don't want to spam fellow hackers. Getting the word out will help with getting likes and the bootstrap community contributions

  Are you sure? yes | no

John Schuch wrote 03/23/2018 at 19:10 point

From the chat room, how important is the quality of submitted video, and do you have any tips to help video newbies?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Inne wrote 03/23/2018 at 19:06 point

I am very much new to the HaD prize, so I was wondering what is the time frame for the projects. Can you still come up and enter ideas after a category has begun. And how on earth do people accomplish such amazing projects in just 2 months.

  Are you sure? yes | no

James Wynhoff wrote 03/23/2018 at 19:06 point

What are the general guidelines and timeframes on project completeness for the judging?

Any best practices that the judges or Alberto have for project documentation?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Bhavesh Kakwani wrote 03/23/2018 at 19:03 point

Do you have a category for artistic hacks? Which category would be appropriate to apply to?

  Are you sure? yes | no

deʃhipu wrote 03/23/2018 at 19:00 point

I think the achievements are a great idea, and I am very happy to see them. However, I'm a bit disappointed how they are mostly re-hashing of the coin cell battery contest categories. Is it possible to have more achievements, preferably more meaningful and exciting? Things that come to my mind is a blue smoke achievement (for people who release the blue smoke by mistake), safety first (for people who use proper safety precautions while working on dangerous things), cheapskate (for people who optimize for price of the final product), time lord (for people using retro or futuristic solutions), robot lord (for automating work on the project), detective (for reverse-engineering), etc.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Interested in attending?

Become a member to follow this event or host your own