Starfish Cat, Bowling Ball Bot, and Stargate all Claim Prizes


We saw a huge outpouring of builds for the the Hackaday Sci-Fi Contest and it’s now time to reveal the winners. With 84 great themed projects submitted, the judges had a tough task to pull out the most impressive both in terms of creativity and execution.

Here are our four winners. Two come from the Stargate universe. One is a cuddly yet horrifying character of unknown origin but unarguably Sci-Fi. The other is the best use of a bowling ball we’ve seen so far.

Grand Prize

The grand prize goes to [Jerome Kelty] with Animatronic Stargate Helmet. [Jerome] has built a replica prop that looks like it just came out of a Hollywood shop. It’s almost a shame that this helmet won’t be worn on film – though it certainly could be. If you remember the film and the television show, these helmets have quite a bit of articulation. The head can pan and tilt. The eyes glow, as well as have irises which expand and contract. The “wings” also open and close in a particular way.

[Jerome] built the mechanics for this helmet. He used radio control servos to move the head, with the help of some hardware from ServoCity. Most of the metalwork was built in his own shop. Everything is controlled from a standard R/C transmitter, much like the original show. [Jerome] is taking home a Rigol DS1054Z 4 Channel 50 MHz scope.

First Prize

First prize goes to [Christine] with
Starfish Cat: Your Lovecraftian Furby-like Friend. Starfish Cat is one of those odd projects that finds itself right on the edge of the uncanny valley. We are equal parts intrigued and creeped out by this… thing. The bottom is all starfish, with a rubber base poured into a 3D printed mold. The top though, is more cat-like, with soft fur and ears. 5 claws hide under the fur, ready to grab you.

Starfish Cat detects body heat with 5 bottom mounted PIR sensors. The sensors are read by the particle photon which acts as its brain. When heat is detected, Starfish Cat activates its claws, and also blows or sucks air through its… uh… mouth hole.  [Christine] is taking home a Monoprice Maker Select Mini 3D printer.

Click past the break to see the rest of the winners

Second Prize

Second Prize goes to [Jochen Alt] with Paul. Paul is a balancing robot. He rides on a ball by driving 3 omnidirectional wheels. You might think he was inspired by BB-8, but [Jochen] has been working on balancing robots for years now — even longer than BB-8 has been around.

Paul is powered by a pair of Atmel ATmega644 microcontrollers. One handles balance and motor drive. The other micro drives the speakers, LEDs, and takes commands from an XBee radio.

Did we mention that Paul recites somewhat depressing poetry while riding on his ball? He might be related to Marvin the paranoid android. [Jochen] is rolling away with a complete Blu-Ray box of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Third Prize

In third place, we have [shlonkin] with Ma’Tok staff weapon from Stargate. Who knew we had so many Stargate fans among our readers?

[Shlonkin] didn’t have access to all the composites [Jerome] used, so he carved the staff entirely out of wood. A hidden trigger allows the Ma’Tok’s wielder to arm and fire the weapon. Sequenced LEDs take the place of the electrical discharges in the real thing. The Ma’Tok is controlled by an Adafruit Pro Trinket, which also drives a servo hidden in the head. The servo allows the Ma’Tok to “fire” a small projectile. The projectile was built from a tiny flashlight. It almost looks like a bolt of electricity when fired.

[Shlonkin] is taking home a Lego Millennium Falcon.

So that’s another contest all wrapped up. Congratulations to all the winners!  We’d like to thank everyone who entered, as well as the judges who toiled through the night to pick the best entries.



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