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Got a great invention the world needs to get their hands on? Engadget is offering a hardware talent show of sorts called Insert Coin to help choose tech’s next great gadget. The winner will be chosen by a panel of judges at Expand in San Francisco March 17 and will walk away with $20,000 and a Engadget review. Submissions will be accepted until Feb. 8 so get busy.

Expand is Engadget’s answer to CES, but it’s open to the public. You don’t need industry affiliation to attend. There will be two days of speakers, panel discussion, exhibits, and of course, lot of gadgets.  The idea for the contest is to find makers at the early stage of hardware development before they begin a crowdfunding campaign. Thick of it as a pre-Kickstarter showcase.

The audience will help choose the finalists and the ultimate winners, kind of like a techie version of American Idol. A panel of experts and Endgadget editors will narrow down a slate of 10 semi-finalists and an audience vote in February will pick the five finalists. All 10 project creators will be invited to attend Expand and receive $1,000 for travel expense plus a spot on the exhibition floor. The top five finalists will present their projects on stage during a demo session on the first day of the event. Winner voting will be open during both days of the event with live updates on who’s out in front. The finalists will present their gadgets before a live audience.

The rules can be found here, and include:

  • Existing products/updates to existing products will not be accepted.
  • Product should not be announced.
  • Product must not have an existing KickstarterIndiegogo or other crowdfunding effort already underway.
  • Companies must be ready to launch crowdfunding campaigns around the event.

Got a project you think can win?

Stett Holbrook

Stett Holbrook is editor of the Bohemian, an alternative weekly in Santa Rosa, California. He is a former senior editor at Maker Media.

He is also the co-creator of Food Forward, a documentary TV series for PBS about the innovators and pioneers changing our food system.


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