Hackathon Rules   The spirit of the competition

Remember that hackathons are like marathons. Some people go to compete but most people take part to better themselves and have fun. Whatever the reason is you're at a hackathon, make sure you're upholding the hacker spirit by collaborating, helping others, and having fun.

The rules of the competition
  1. Team Size: There is no maximum or minimum team size.
  2. Prizes: Prizes will be awarded on a per team basis, not an individual basis.  Prizes will be awarded as follows: 1st place = $3,500, 2nd place = $2,500, and 3rd place = $1,500. 
  3. Team Members: Anyone is eligible to participate who is not an organizer, volunteer, judge, sponsor, or in any other privileged position at the event.  Participants also may not enter with pre-existing commercially available solutions, however they may enter with projects that are either in process or have been developed as part of a class or education curriculum.
  4. Presence: The event is virtual, so there are no requirements regarding presence.  We do request that hackers try to attend the kick off call and award announcement.
  5. Communication: Teams can of course gain advice and support from their hackathon mentor team or other resources within their networks such as professors or advisors.
  6. Pre-existing Work: Teams can use an idea or project they had before the event as part of a hobby, relevant course work, or side project as long as it is not currently commercially available.
  7. Modifying Open Source Designs - Teams can use existing designs that are considered open source and modify them.  Adding new features to existing projects is allowed as long as you own them, or they are considere open source. Judges will only consider new functionality introduced or new features added during the hackathon in determining the winners.
  8. Work Submission: Teams must stop hacking once the time is up, and submit their projects.  The judges will not review project submitted after the hack period is over.
  9. Code of Conduct: Projects that violate the Code of Conduct are not allowed.  Teams can be disqualified from the competition at the organizers' discretion. Reasons might include but are not limited to breaking the Competition Rules, breaking the Code of Conduct, or other unsporting behaviour.


After hacking finishes, teams will submit a 3 - 5 minute video demo/pitch and supporting materials that represent what you've built.  Supporting materials may include pictures of a finished product, a video demonstration, designs, etc.  

You are encouraged to present what you have done even if your hack did not turn out the way you planned.  We encourage you to attempt to finish your hack—however it is okay if you don't.  that happens all the time!

Completion is only one part of the judging criteria, so you might still do well. Also, demoing is not just about the competition. It's a chance to share with others what you learned and what you tried to build—that's what hacking's all about!  In the case that you don't have anything to demo, you can give a presentation about what you tried and what you learned. 

Judging Criteria

Teams will be judged on these four criteria. Judges will weigh the criteria equally. During judging, participants should try to describe what they did for each criterion in their project.


  • Were engineering skills/technological skills demonstrated?
  • Is the concept/idea technically feasible? 


  • Does it/will it work? (Looking for attention to functionality of finished product.)
  • Was there attention to aesthetic.  (For PPE- does the design work/is it commercially appealing?  For modularized labs - is the lab clear, uncluttered, does it account for things like power/cooling sources and storage in a visually sensible way?)  
  • Focus on utility/practical use - is the final product useful, wearable, or easily constructed and used?


  • Does the solution help to solve a problem?  
  • How does it help meet a need, solve a problem, provide a solution outside of the box?  
  • How can it improve life/health/solve current problems?
  • Where does your solution differ from existing solutions/products?
  • What is the ability of the solution to disrupt the current market?


  • How well does the solution meet a customer/institutional needs?
  • What is the potential to build a company out of the solution presented?
  • Is there a clear pathway to success for the hacker?


  • Is the video presentation clear?
  • Do the visuals support the main idea/concept?
  • Is the potential for adoptability/utilization clear enough to help position the hacker for commercialization/funding opportunities?


  • Is the idea, product, or concept exciting?
  • Would it compel others to join the business tomorrow?
  • Would the idea/concept compel the judges/mentors be to help mentor/promote/connect the final idea with the resources to help the team succeed?  .


The competition is just a part of the hackathon. Part of the journey is learning as you go, if you walk away from the competition with a new idea, and lessons learned then you got something out of it.