PCB solutions provider Sunstone Circuits recently attended, sponsored and judged a competition category at MakeHarvard, the first engineering hackathon held at the historic Harvard University.
MakeHarvard is a 24-hour hackathon competition open to undergraduate and graduate students from across the nation that register for a chance to get creative and show their skills. “MakeHarvard was founded upon a belief of the importance of a collaborative maker experience. We’re encouraging students to turn concepts into reality by providing them with a platform to envision their ideas within teams and model a cohesive product using Computer Aided Design software – to turn engineering design platforms into a canvas for their wildest ideas.” – as stated on the MakeHavard website.
MakeHarvard sponsored six unique categories that teams of up to five students each, could be judged in, while sponsors of the event, which included Sunstone, provided additional categories for entry. The MakeHarvard categories were:
• Best Overall
• Best Use of Takk Strips
• Most Likely to Become a Unicorn
• Most Creative
• Useless/Bad Engineering
• Fan Favorite
Sunstone sponsored a competition and supplied a judge, a mentor, and an award for the student team best able to achieve the spirit of Sunstone’s category: Reverse Engineering and Documentation. The winner or this category was determined through one on one conversations with the teams as well as a pre-established judging rubric written by Sunstone.
The competition category that Sunstone sponsored, judged and presented was based almost entirely on documentation of the project. Each team that entered, executed a “reverse engineering” exercise on a piece of existing hardware. They were asked to document each step of their process including the engineering process, the pitfalls and the successes. They were also required to create something new or different using this piece of hardware. The idea was that someone else should be able to reproduce their results by simply following the team documentation, either taking their idea in new directions or even improving upon it. The judging rubric for this competition gave numerical ratings from 1 to 5 in the following categories:
• Technical Difficulty
• Value to Society
Sunstone believes that proper documentation is a piece of the puzzle that is often lacking or missing entirely in engineering today and wanted to focus on a competition that would bring it to the forefront and highlight the importance of good documentation. Though this may not be a stringent point of emphasis in academia or for the majority of makers, it is required in most engineering disciplines and should be cultivated in our next generation of engineers.
Sunstone employee, Dustin Jablonski, CAM Operator and avid Maker points out, “A lot of people assumed that even though we (Sunstone Circuits) were a US-based company – that we manufactured overseas. Most of the people we talked to were excited to learn otherwise.”
A trophy designed and created by Dustin Jablonski’s team at Sunstone was awarded to the team: Smarter Bike Light for their high score and precise documentation of their project and process. The winning team, along with other many other makers, were heard commenting on the success of this event and making plans for MakeHarvard 2019.