For two months, 27 hackerspace teams across the globe have been working on their projects for “The Great Global Hackerspace Challenge,” and today global electronics community element14 announced three semi-finalists: BuildBrighton, Hackerspace Charlotte and Pumping Station: One. These three teams will present their projects at Maker Faire Bay Area on May 22 to an esteemed panel of judges, including Benjamin J. Heckendorn, Jeri Ellsworth, Mitch Altman and Gareth Branwyn – Editor-In-Chief,, who will choose the competition’s grand prize winner during a special awards ceremony at the Innovation Stage on May 22 from 5:15 – 5:45 p.m.

Hackerspaces are community-operated physical locations where people with common technology-related interests meet to share resources and knowledge, to conceptualize and build a project to help advance technology in education. The three semi-finalists team projects are:

• BuildBrighton (UK) – Phonicubes, a simple and fun way for teaching kids to read
• Hackerspace Charlotte (USA) – Feltronics, a simple, easy-to-reproduce method for teaching electronics
• Pumping Station: One (USA) – GGHC Biosensor Array, an inexpensive way to teach biology
“We are amazed at the projects these teams have created over the past two months,” said Altman, famed hacker and inventor. “While it was difficult to choose just three semi-finalists out of the entire group of participants, we felt these groups really embraced the challenge of creating something unique to help advance education.”

In March, element14 and Mitch Altman invited hackerspaces across the globe to participate. Twenty-seven teams participated, each having $900 and two months to design, prototype and build a project that serves as a useful tool in a classroom setting. The only requirement in the build was that each team was instructed to utilize two special components – a microcontroller and a portable power source.

In an effort to support collaboration throughout the competition, each team had a dedicated element14 community profile at, which provided background information and ongoing status project updates relating to the competition. Fellow peers and electronics enthusiasts were encouraged to follow the progress of each team and discuss the projects on element14’s community.

“It has been thrilling to watch the progress of all the participating teams in ‘The Great Global Hackerspace Challenge’ over the past two months,” said Kevin Yapp, chief marketing officer, Premier Farnell. “This competition not only aligns perfectly with element14’s goals to promote community, interaction and collaboration, but helps support the advancement of technology in educational settings, and we’re very proud to be part of that.”

In the spirit of friendly competition, the three semi-finalist teams will receive a Fluke 233 DMM and 381 Clamp Meter, a Tektronix PWS4205 Power Supply, an Agilent Handheld DMM and prizes from APEX tools, OK International and TechSpray. The winning team will receive the grand prize of a Tektronix MSO2024 Mixed Signal Oscilloscope.


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