The Hackaday Prize and the Arducorder!

hackadayprize

I think it’d make a great story to say that the fellow who designed real (open source!) science tricorders made it into space, and so I’ve started the next chapter in the project — entering the hackaday prize to win a trip to space!

There’s something about a near-term fixed deadline that helps turn research projects and prototypes into complete and functional devices. The hackaday prize prototype has to be working in just over a month, and complete in a few months, with regular milestones on the way. This challenges you to be fast, efficient, make your mistakes cheaply, and make interesting but safe design choices to ensure that the design is completed on time. I confess that I’ve been excited about exploring the space of open source science tricorders, and so I’ve incorporated a lot of hot-off-the-press components into the designs that in many cases don’t yet have a lot of support or examples to work from. This makes for interesting and high-risk experiments, but it doesn’t lead to the end-game that I get so many e-mails about — actually having an inexpensive science tricorder-like device in your hands. Hopefully this will help change that.

I’ve redesigned an open, inexpensive, modular, mini version of the Arducorder — this time with more processing power, and transitioning back to a bright, beautiful OLED display. Part of the requirements for the hackaday prize are documenting your project, and I’ve taken this further to document the entire process from creative sketches, concept, and industrial design, to taking those designs and making them real. The first four project logs can be found here. This means much more frequent updates in the weeks and months to come, and I’ll post the links to new project logs here on the blog. The first logs are:

Step 1: An Introduction and Background
models

Step 2: Concept and Industrial Design
concept

Step 3: Schematic and Board Layout Part 1
motherboardboard_norouting

Step 3: Schematic and Board Layout Part 2
motherboard_withrouting_graphic

With more to come!

How can you help?
The hackaday prize is judged on several criteria, including community voting. There are three ways that folks interested in the project can help:

  1. Vote: There are two mechanisms for voting, and both require an account on Hackaday IO, but it only takes a moment to sign up. Once you’ve signed up, please visit the project on Hackaday IO and select “Give the project a ‘skull’ symbol” to show your support. This helps show your support for the project, and show it to more folks who visit Hackaday IO. buttons
  2. More Voting: The second set of voting helps determine the interest in each project concept entered into the hackaday prize. It takes a minute or two to complete this step, and as a bonus you get to quickly become familiar with some of the other great projects in the competition!
    vote
  3. Write a kind note: The kind words of encouragement that folks send are genuinely helpful, and are very appreciated. If you like the project and have a moment, please feel free to write a note in the comments (either here or on the Hackaday IO project site). I read them all, and apologize that there sometimes isn’t enough time in the day to reply to them all while still making progress.

Thanks for reading! With the first set of boards being made as we speak, it should be an exciting few months! Stay tuned!