About the challenge
IDEA Hacks is a 36-hour hardware-focused hackathon held annually by IEEE at UCLA in Ackerman Grand Ballroom. As the largest electrical engineering-focused hackathon on the West Coast, this is a truly unique opportunity to work on a project that encompasses electrical, software, and even mechanical engineering.
For the ninth annual IDEA Hacks, our theme is “Game Time!" This means projects should gamify a daily practice, an environmentally-friendly behavior, or any mundane task to make it more enjoyable. Products should encourage healthier habits by making one’s routines more engaging and enabling users to compete with themselves or others. The three sub-categories—mental and physical health, sustainable practices, and “just for fun” (a good old game)—promote the creation of projects that benefit one’s wellbeing, the health of the planet, or enjoyment of life.
To get started, visit our parts checkout table once hacking begins! However, you are welcome to begin brainstorming project ideas as early as you want.
Also, please join our discord. You should have received the link in an email.
What to Build
Come up with an innovative project that "gamifies" an action to make life more fun!
What to Submit
Projects must contain at least two hardware components. To document what you built, submit some images/videos of your project as well as a description of what your project does. Feel free to be creative! A more interesting pitch will generate more interest from judges!
Make sure to include a concise description at the top of your project as your "elevator pitch." This should make it so judges can clearly understand what your project does in 20 seconds or less.
$2,750 in prizes
First Place Overall
$250 Digi-Key Gift Card
Limited Edition Polar Ombre Hydro Flask,
IDEA Hacks Athletic Shirt
Second Place Overall
2 meal vouchers for Plateia UCLA
Third Place Overall
Divoom 16x16 LED Display
Best Sustainability-Oriented Project
To-go ware bamboo utensil set,
freezer compost bin,
reusable sandwich bags
Best Health-Oriented Project
Patagonia Atom Sling Backpack
Best "Just for Fun" Project
Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:
Chief System Architect
Director, MILSATCOM Programs, Northrop Grumman
Systems Engineering Manager at Northrop Grumman
Management Consultant at EY
Director, control systems and electrical engineering at Nusano
IEEE Advisor at UCLA
PhD Candidate at California Institute of Technology
Lecturer at UCLA
Assistant Professor at UCLA
Graduate Student at UCLA
CEO / Co-founder of Exosonic
Software Engineer at Figma
UCLA EE Instructor
Systems Engineer at Raytheon Technologies
Applications Engineering Manager
Principal Applications Engineer
Relevance to Theme
How relevant is the project to the theme of “Game Time”? Does the project successfully “gamify” something? Is there a fun component to the project?
Concept Testing and Ideation
Did they choose the best solution to solve the target problem? Considering factors such as safety, cost-effectiveness, and reliability, was an effective solution proposed to resolve the target issue?
Creativity / Innovation
How creative is the project? Is it an original idea and/or implementation?
Is the project complete and well designed? Does the project work reliably and effectively achieve the goals of the design?
Usage of Technology
Does the project effectively use the technology available? Did the team go above and beyond in effectively utilizing technology?
Potential to Become a Product
Does the product satisfy a real need? Is the user experience enjoyable? Is the product cost-effective and affordable?
Strength of Pitch
How convincing were they in “selling” their product? Was the pitch clear and concise?
Does this project have the potential to make a significant impact on one or more real environmental issues? How effective would this project be in encouraging their target audience to adopt environmentally-friendly behaviors long-term?
Mental and Physical Health (Optional)
How likely is this project to improve the long-term mental and/or physical health of its users? Does this project target an aspect of mental or physical health that is currently underserved in the market?
“Just for Fun” (Optional)
Is the product enjoyable to use? Does the end result present a novel approach to an existing game, or create a new game entirely?