[hackerspaces] [hackerspaces-announce] Wanna participate in a new Hackerspace Challenge?

Mitch Altman maltman23 at hotmail.com
Sat Mar 5 20:51:17 CET 2011

Here’s an opportunity to participate in a cool project, and also have a chance to get cool stuff for your hackerspace.
Please pass this around to any hackerspace you think may be interested.
The short version:
Ten hackerspaces around the world will be chosen to participate in the Great Global Hackerspace Challenge to create something cool and useful for education.  Each of the ten spaces that complete their project will receive PCB layout software, and some nice soldering setups so that they can better teach how to make cool things with electronics.  These ten hackerspaces will each get $900 and two months to finish their project.  Three finalists will be chosen to show off their projects live (in person, or virtually) at the San Francisco Maker Faire May.  A panel of geeks will pick the one they think is coolest, and the winning space will win a handmade trophy and bragging rights, a top-of-the-line digital oscilloscope, and perhaps some other way cool stuff.
The money to make all this happen is being put up by element14, the new brand of Newark/Farnell (who sell electronic parts and tools) to market to us DIY types.
If you want to participate, please email me with a short (please, keep it short) explanation about why your space should be chosen as one of the ten.
mitch **at** CornfieldElectronics **dot** com
The dealine for emailing me to be considered is Friday, 11-March, 17:00h Pacific Standard Time (UTC-8).
The long version:
This is an international Hackerspace Challenge that is being developed in partnership with the electronics components company element14, http://us.element-14.com.  The goal is for members of the teams to put their collective heads together and make a difference for a cause.  The cause for this event is education.  Why Education?  Education cuts are barely out of the news, and the outlook remains grim across the world.  Our schools continue to fail us in educating people for our collective futures.  We need to foster practical and creative thinking and help provide equipment to inspire a lifetime of learning.  Already, hackerspaces are helping fill the void - providing workshops, after school classes and vocational training, often for free, or very inexpensively.  Now there is an opportunity to take that one step further, and to take something created in a hackerspace back to the classroom.
The Great Global Hackerspace Challenge is officially being kicked off with an open invitation for all hackerspaces in the Americas, Europe and Asia to throw their hat into the ring and participate in the challenge.  All interested hackerspaces are asked to submit a write up outlining why you should be considered to participate in the Challenge.  Ten hackerspaces will be selected to participate.  Hackerspaces must "earn" their spot in the challenge with passion, skill and engagement with the cause. 
The selected groups will then each have $900 and two months to design, prototype and build a project that serves a useful role in a classroom situation.  It's up to the groups to define the term 'classroom', as well as all other terms.  This could be K-12, or equivalent, school districts, or independent community programs.  Each build must incorporate the following “secret ingredients”, sourced from element14's online store – a microcontroller and a portable power source.  The rationale for selecting these as the secret ingredients are: 
   *  The use of a microcontroller will ensure that the final output be electronic in nature;
    * The use of a portable power source will ensure mobility (which we see as a vital component of usefulness in the classroom setting).
During the build process the teams will be required to create an element14 community profile featuring information about their space, their team philosophy, bios and past builds/experience, as well as relevant information relating to the competition, so that their fans can follow their progress (including photos and video).  Each team will have a handler assigned to them to oversee their progress and manage operational questions.  To ensure that we are continually feeding content into the community over the course of the project, each team will be required to provide bi-weekly updates on their progress.
At the conclusion of the project, all participants will submit a write up and video of their working project for an initial round of judging (the video does not need to be anything fancy – just show us and the world your cool project!).  The judging will be measured on the following criteria for each phase of the competition:
     * How reproducible is the final project
     * How easily can the parts be sourced in locations around the world
     * How low cost is the final output
     * How well are the plans documented
     * How relevant is the project to the educational goals of schools today
     * How inventive and creative is the design and build of the project
The top 3 submissions will then be selected as semi-finalists who will advance to the final stage of the Challenge.
The judging panel will include Mitch Altman http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitch_Altman, Ben Heck http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Heckendorn, and yet to be revealed high profile industry celebrities.  Hint: They're awesome.  The announcement of these additional judges will be part of the ongoing community building throughout the project.
The competition will culminate with the final judging at Maker Faire San Mateo in late May.  Currently we are aiming to have the three finalists attend virtually, via video conference if they are remote, and in person if they already going to be present at the event.  If the semi-finalists are traveling on their own dime they can certainly take the stage. 
There are no losers in this Challenge.  All participating teams that complete their project for judging will receive Eagle PCB layout software, as well as a collection of soldering station kits including soldering iron, plenty of solder, wire strippers, and wire cutters, for their hackerspace's own, ongoing educational and teaching needs. We all want new people getting educated and involved in electronic design at Hackerspaces and hopefully this project will help support that goal.
This last point is still in development but in addition to the soldering equipment, the three finalist teams will each be awarded a more substantial piece of equipment from a name brand manufacturer. This is yet to be locked in. Though Tektronics has already offered their MSO2024 model digital oscillioscope ($5,600)!
The single, overall winner will receive bragging rights and a delightful handmade trophy. The organizers of this event will personally make it with their own hands, and from their hearts.
To be considered for this Great Global Hackerspace Challenge, please email me a short (please, keep it short) proposal for your hackerspace, letting me know why your space should be chosen.
mitch **at** CornfieldElectronics **dot** com
The dealine for emailing me to be considered is Friday, 11-March, 17:00h Pacific Standard Time (UTC-8).
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