There’s Only A Month Left in the Pitch Your Prototype Challenge

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There’s just over a month left to submit your own project to the Pitch Your Prototype challenge, a collaboration between Make: magazine and Cornell University with the goal of digging up promising prototypes from the Maker community. The individual or team that wins the challenge will be awarded $5,000 and have the opportunity appear onstage at MakerCon New York.

PitchYourPrototype_125x125_v1The contest is open until 11:59 PST on April 30, 2015. You can visit this page to read the full rules, see other contestants’ entries, cast your own vote or enter your own prototype.

“We originally launched Make: magazine to provide an outlet for engineers,”said executive chairman and founder of Maker Media Dale Dougherty of the contest. “Too often, their jobs became management-focused and more theory-based, with little time to do what they really loved and became engineers to do. Fortunately, educational institutions like Cornell are changing up the curriculum and as a result changing the landscape, turning out Makers as well as managers.”

If you have any questions about the contest, feel free to reach out on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. We’re listening!

Looking for inspiration? Here’s a roundup of news about the contest so far:

  • Want to see what the competition is working on? We profiled Maker and author Mike Rigsby, who is entering a prototype robot built to pluck weeds directly out of the ground, as an alternative to pesticides.
  • We also caught up with Design that Matters, a nonprofit founded by a team of MIT graduates to create tools to meet basic needs in the developing world. In 2013, they needed a push to start a pilot program for their prototype Firefly, a phototherapy device meant to treat infant jaundice. They entered the Firefly in the Pitch Your Prototype challenge—and ultimately won, which let them pilot the device in Vietnam and the Philippines, and later bring it into production. They play to roll out a total of 1,000 Fireflies over the next few years.
  • When they were enrolled at Shenzhen-based hardware accelerator HAXLR8R, Tarun Pondicherry and Josh Chan developed a prototype for what would later become LightUp, a snap-together electronics kit with an app for visualizing the flow of electricity through the components. They entered the device in the first ever Pitch Your Prototype challenge. “Winning Pitch Your Prototype really helped us get the momentum going,” Pondicherry said. “A lot of people in that audience were really influential, and helped get us on the right trajectory.”
  • Scroll down to the bottom of this post to see a gallery of entrants in previous years of the Pitch Your Prototype Challenge.

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Jon Christian is the co-editor of the Maker Pro Newsletter, which covers the intersection between makers and business. He's also written for the Boston Globe, WIRED and The Atlantic.

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