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Hack A Day Prize is a Trip To Space (Video) 34

Posted by Roblimo
from the up-up-and-away-in-your-beautiful-rocket dept.
Last month, at Maker Faire Bay Area 2014, Timothy Lord spotted a guy wearing a very large piece of headgear that included two crossed wrenches. The guy turned out to be Mike Szczys, Managing Editor of, which says, "The Hackaday Prize will send one person into space for building the next evolution of hardware." That's certainly of interest to the hardware hacker/maker crowd. How they're going to arrange the space flight (probably one of those "just above the atmosphere" hops) isn't specified, but even so the contest is an interesting idea, and the Hack A Day site seems to have some interest hacks and tutorials on it. So go ahead and enter the contest -- and don't forget to take your camera with you on your flight into space, because we'll want to see pictures! (Alternate Video Link)

Tim: So Mike, you are walking around with an interesting prop on your head?

Mike Szczys: Yes, you bet.

Tim: Now is that the Hackaday logo, you...

Mike Szczys: Yes.

Tim: ????

Mike Szczys: We lovingly call it the Jolly Wrencher because of the wrenches. It is the Hackaday logo. I really like when I do live things to actually build something, because our website is all about getting off of the couch, getting into your basement and building something awesome. Instead of just something that blinks or that sort of thing, I thought why not build kind of a showpiece, a thing that readers could wander up to and people that were curious could also find.

Tim: You’re walking and also you’re talking about the Hackaday prize.

Mike Szczys: Yeah.

Tim: Let’s talk about that.

Mike Szczys: Sure, I’d love to talk about that. I’m very excited about the Hackaday prize. It is a six-month long initiative that we just launched at the end of April, to support open design, so open hardware and open source software. The grand prize for the Hackaday prize is a trip into space on the carrier of your choice. We also have four other great top prizes, things like top of the line 3D printers, industrial grade milling machines, we have 50 $1,000 grab bags of electronics and then hundreds of other prizes, that we are going to give along the way: t-shirts, stickers, posters, this sort of thing.

Tim: What are you looking for, what’s a winner, what gets you the stakes?

Mike Szczys: So you need to build something that is an electronics project, it needs to connect in some way to something else, and it needs to be as open as possible. We didn’t really want to put you in a box with the way you can design because we want to see kind of the next generation; we want to skip the current technology and go to the next generation of connected devices, things that transfer data. So it could be a central network. It could be something connected to the Internet. It could be something connected to your phone. And then the openness part of it is, can you make it so that other people can look at your example and see how you got past roadblocks, and then they can stand on your shoulders and kind of do their own contribution to open hardware.

Tim: I want to talk about space.

Mike Szczys: Yeah.

Tim: A carrier of your choice. Right now, that’s not many.

Mike Szczys: No, there aren’t too many and actually none of them are going to space, but I have looked at it in depth and they may as soon as 2014 be going into space, there is a cash alternative which I personally hope people don’t take, but it’s $196,418 that you can choose instead of the grand prize, but I just think it’s a lot more fun, it’s a life experience that you’d never going to buy for yourself and really the best present is always something someone would never buy for themselves.

Tim: The price of space is going down quite a bit.

Mike Szczys: How do you

Tim: Well, I mean, when Mark Shuttleworth went...

Mike Szczys: Yeah, I would even go back further than that and say, it used to take a nation-state to put a person into space and you’re not going to be going to the moon, you’re not going to be docking with the ISS yet. But how many humans have actually been into space, you can be among the first of them.

Tim: I think Virgin I think it is that just had to withdraw one of their space plans because of the old definition of space.

Mike Szczys: Yeah. And so, I think they call it sub-orbital at this point, but you know, it’s still a great thing to shoot for and you can call it a moon-shot and again you’re not going to the moon but it is something that very few people have had the opportunity to experience.

Tim: And by the way your cash alternative is very specific?

Mike Szczys: Yes.

Tim: Why is that?

Mike Szczys: Well, we didn’t just want to give away $200,000 as a cash alternative; you got something a little more geekier than that. So we started looking around prime numbers, there’s a whole bunch of them, they don’t mean much around there; if you do base two numbers, it’s not near that. But then, we came along the idea of the Fibonacci sequence, so this is actually a Fibonacci number.

Tim: Very good. How do people enter the contest?

Mike Szczys: They go to It has all the information. We have a fantastic panel of judges on there, people like Ladyada, Bunnie Huang, Ian Lesnet, Elecia White. There is eight in total; I won’t list them here. All the information about entering is there. You create a free account and then we want you to publish the details of the entire project, not just what got you to the endpoint because this really should be a tool that others can use to learn from in their own projects.

Tim: What is the entry deadline?

Mike Szczys: The first cut-off is actually August 4,, so you have until August 4, but you want to get into your

Tim: Why don’t you answer that one again?

Mike Szczys: Sure. The first cut-off date is actually August 4, but you want to get your entry in as soon as possible because we have ongoing community voting and you can win some of the prizes like t-shirt stickers, posters, that sort of thing, all the way from now to when the first round of cut-offs is made August 4.

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Hack A Day Prize is a Trip To Space (Video)

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  • built a working man-carrying spaceship.

    Off you go!

  • Somehow the name "Mike Szczys", like so many Slavic or Welsh names, reminds me of an old article in The Onion titled "Clinton Deploys Vowels to Bosnia" [].
  • Shit, not again (Score:4, Insightful)

    by frovingslosh (582462) on Monday June 09, 2014 @06:01PM (#47198449)
    We have already discussed this. The cost of a trip to space is so high that the average guy can't afford to win it and (as has happened before) would have to decline it, otherwise the taxes on the "prize" would ruin you.
    • by Trogre (513942)

      Yes indeed, "not again". The US system of taxes on prizes is utterly ludicrous. No way should the recipient of a prize be liable for any kind of payment. Tax the prizes if you must, but that will be payable by the organization that issues the prize.

      And don't get me started on a slightly OT rant about the retarded situation that permits US mobile carriers to charge customers to receive SMS messages.

  • The plethora of "free energy" device submissions. Heck, all the YouTube [] video work is already done!

An Ada exception is when a routine gets in trouble and says 'Beam me up, Scotty'.