We had a great time at the judging event for element14’s Great Global Hackserspace Challenge on Sunday at Maker Faire. The final three projects were all pretty smashing, and it was difficult to choose one over the others. They all had their different strengths. Pumping Station: One’s Biosensing Array was a pretty sophisticated device for the money and they had done a number of very clever hacks and programming to make it function effectively. Build Brighton’s Phonicubes was a fun educational toy for teaching phonics that we thought was pretty clever in its design and its use of RFID technology. But in the end, we were most impressed by Hackerspace Charlotte’s Feltronics. This is a system for teaching kids (of all ages) electronics through the use of electrified felt components. I’m a sucker for any teaching aid that makes learning electronics as fun and non-intimidating as possible (and I think the other judges agreed). And the Charlotte crew has gone a long way towards making this system very marketable. They already have an excellent website, with how-to info on building your own.

So Hackerspace Charlotte took home the coveted golden tower o’ technojunk trophy. Congrats to you, and congrats to all 30 hackerspaces who stood on the starting line and to the 27 that submitted projects. And thanks also to the folks at element14 and Silverfox (and to Mitch Altman!) for putting this whole shebang together. It was tons of fun.

Da Judges: Jeff Keyzer, Jeri Ellsworth, Gareth Branwyn, Mitch Altman, Michele Dawson, Ben Heckendorn

Finals and Awards Ceremony in GGHC
GGHC Finalist Profile — Build Brighton
GGHC Finalist Profile — Hackerspace Charlotte
GGHC Finalist Profile – Pumping Station: One