It would be great to be a finalist. We know there are a lot of great projects this year! Also, we know that because we aren't fully Open Source we are at a disadvantage. However, we aren't throwing in the towel! There are several points the judges will be looking at to make their selections for the 10 finalists.
1. How open is it?
Everything but the head design and software are open currently. We might end up making the head open source, but we are at a stage where we are changing the design of the head so much it doesn't make sense to yet. As for the software the machine could easily work with OpenPNP software available now.
2. Wow factor.
I look at what is currently available on the market today, and at the cost of those machines. Then, I look at what we have done, and how fast it has come along. I'm definitely wow'd by our progress and the machine, and I hope you all are too. Remember we have been working on this project on and off only since January. We finally started really hammering down long hours on the machine in mid April!
3. Does it solve a wide range of problem?
As of now we are working very hard on the Pick and Place aspect of this machine, and this is our main focus, but we have some family in the medical field who have shown interest in the machine. The idea is they would use this machine in their medical lab to prepare samples for testing. Their are machines available currently now that can do this, but much the same reason we took on this PnP project is that these machines are very expensive.
4. Is the project reproducible and could the work be extended for other uses?
The hardware is very much all reproducible, there is readily available software, and as we said in point 3, there are other applications we will be looking into.
5. Is it innovative.
It is a Pick and Place, and these have been available for some time now, but we do believe it is still innovative. We are always introducing new features to the machine. Currently I believe we are the only PnP with 2 downward facing cameras.
6. Is it usable in the real world?
Absolutely! We were actually the first customer for this machine. We use it everyday to build the boards we currently sell on our website.
7. Will others want to continue perfecting on this well-documented idea?
We are using closed source software currently, but I don't think this will stop others from wanting to help perfect our product. We are always looking for ways to gather feedback from the community and implement ideas and features they want for the machine.
It's a great honor just being a semifinalist. To have a group such as Hackaday acknowledge your work, and tell you they think it's great, is an amazing thing. We are extremely thankful for all of those almost 150 makers who have followed our project and over 50 makers who have given us a skull!
Back to work!