Quick update: Currently judging contest entries

Hi folks,

Wow! There are so many contest entries! It’s nearly midnight, and so after the contest closes I’ll be spending the next day or two reading the entries, and selecting the winners. I can already see that it’s not going to be easy — there are some great entries, and a lot of folks are so excited about Tricorders they wrote novels!

I’m already dreaming up the next contest, and hope to have an announcement for that soon. Stay tuned to this blog (subscribe using the widget on the right side), Facebook, or Twitter for announcements and updates. A hint: I’d like the next contest to involve building things, so warm up your soldering irons.

Stay tuned! 🙂

Sparkfun adds Inventors Kit to Tricorder contest!

The folks over at Sparkfun do wonderful things for the open source hardware community, and their tutorials on designing circuit boards using Eagle CAD and surface mount soldering using toaster ovens helped me a great deal when developing the first Tricorder. I had to write them a thank you letter, and the next morning I woke up to a great letter from Nathan and some of the other folks at Sparkfun.

Sparkfun has very generously offered to contribute a Sparkfun Inventor’s Kit for Arduino into the prize pool. The kit was specially designed by the folks at Sparkfun as a great introduction to electronics and microcontrollers, and includes projects for temperature, light, and flex sensors for budding Tricorder enthusiasts:

This kit has it all. It includes the Arduino Uno, the fabled baseplate, and all the sensors you can shake a stick at. The SparkFun Inventor’s Kit for Arduino is a box of goodies to get the very beginner started with programmable electronics. It includes all the bits you need to build 12 basic circuits, no soldering required! On top of that, we’ve joined forces with Oomlout to offer a small booklet to get you started. The SIK comes with everything pictured and a 36 page color printed ‘starter’ guide. The guide will take a complete novice and get them:

Blinking LEDs
Controlling a toy motor
Controlling a servo
Making (bad) music
Responding to buttons
Twisting a volume knob
Detecting ambient light
Reading temperature
Controlling big devices
Mixing LED colors

We believe these to be the building blocks of any electronics project. Once these concepts are mastered, very impressive projects are possible using simple recombinations.

Very awesome! If you haven’t already, check out what is probably the nerdiest contest you will ever enter for a set of unpopulated Tricorder boards from the first run. Thanks Sparkfun!

probably the nerdiest contest you will ever enter

This is probably the nerdiest contest that you will ever enter — which in and of itself is a great reason to enter!

I have decided to give away a set of official unpopulated Tricorder boards from the first ever runs! If you get the Science Tricorder Mark 1 boards, they will include the motherboard and sensor board (but not the power board — I’m afraid I’m fresh out), and I’ll also try to include some parts along with them if you’d like to build them. The Science Tricorder Mark 2 boards are more impressive to look at, but I’m fresh out of parts for them, so they’ll likely be just the bare boards.

Here’s what you have to do for a chance to win: Describe (in a sentence or two) how you would use or your favorite use for a Tricorder either in the comments to this blog post, or in this forum post. On April 15th I’ll read them, and randomly select from the best and most creative or thought-provoking a winner.

The fine print: remember to be sure to log in/register (it only takes a second), and to include your e-mail address when registering so I have a way of contacting the winner. If, after announcing the winner, I can’t get in contact with them after a few days, then I’ll randomly select a different winner. If you’re outside of North America and shipping the package would be excessively difficult or expensive, I may have to select a different winner as well (my apologies ahead of time if this is the case). I’ll also reserve the right to be sneaky and change the rules if something comes up, add more sets of boards to the prizes if there’s a lot of interest, and cheer you on!

Have fun and be creative.