Hardware Hackathons Inspiration: 25 Ideas From 5 Years

For the past five years, we have held over seven different hardware-related Garage48 hackathons: the legendary Hardware & Arts and many others.

Now it’s time to look back at some of the most awesome, inspirational and outstanding ideas that have gotten started at one of our hardware events. And as we have Defence Makeathon coming up, we’ll also go through some defence-related ideas!


1. Inspirational ideas.

First of all, there have been some surprisingly ambitious projects that you never knew were built in only 48 hours. Of course, all of them were not started from scratch – and some of them were worked on long after the hackathon. Some of them were winners, some didn’t get any prizes but were still worked on afterwards.

But the key takeaway is clear: think big. You can do so much more in 48 hours than you could ever imagine. Just look at those projects!


  • A new approach to tactile sensation to our body: Skin [X] (Social IT thing)
    The aim was to build a new approach to tactile sensation to our body. Initially (!) it came from their experience in work with disabled people - existing solutions are out-of-date and the social impact is to strengthen their stimulus to explore their surroundings.
    On the other hand, their vision was that might have become as friendly solution for people to build their body and self-awareness - to re-connect their body and improve relationships in the family. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

  • A gene testing machine that anyone can use anywhere: Genosity
    It’s as simple as it seems: using Genosity’s system, one can easily learn about their own genes. Firstly, they planned to target schools and use it in biology classes as there is too much theory and too little practice.
    And schools liked it: after the hackathon, they created a company and worked with the project for more than 2 years.


Genosity: a gene testing machine. Source: EstonianWorld


And then there are some more exciting ideas that cannot be overlooked:

  • Puca: an educational robot for children that introduces the basics of robotics, electronics and programming to kids in a fun and engaging way.

  • Ripspam: Spam filter for your real life post box for filtering spam mail. Optionally auto recycles the spam and sends notifications to your phone when real mail is received.

  • ChessMove: Electronic chess board that records your chess moves, enabling you to analyze them

  • PILOT: Plugin device that adds self-driving and safety functionality to aftermarket cars

  • aFloat: A smart fishing float which notifies via bluetooth the fisher when a fish is on the hook

  • SensoDoor: A gadget that stops door from closing if there are (chidren's) fingers in the way

  • Memolert: A device that notifies you if you forgot something you usually carry along


2. Crazy fun ideas

Hackathons are not about building dead-serious projects that will definitely succeed and change the world. Hackathons are all about testing out crazy ideas, pushing the limits, challenging the status quo and having lots of fun - even if the projects don’t end up as good as wanted.

No surprise we’ve had so many fun projects over the years! Let’s go through some of them.

  • AUTO PORRIDGE 3000: a machine that makes your morning porridge that can be controlled by an app.

  • Ensensed: a project to develop new sense for human - "spider feeling", right from the pages of Spiderman comics! Special sensors will keep aware of your surrounding, so one can tell if someone sneaks up on them. Sounds extremely useful!

  • Wild rat: An interactive toy for both the dog and the owner that can be controlled from your mobile phone.

  • Old Ladies: Automating making of Lithuanian tree-cake.

  • Streamo: A wearable life-streaming camera for people who love attention (and as you can tell from seeing their visuals, they won a special prize for the best marketing).


Streamo got an award for the best marketing. Source: Facebook.


  • Teasla Model T: a stylish tea machine that prepares a cup of thea at a voice command to a smartphone.

  • Flighting: Device what is integrated into a table and floats a dreamy lamp above it.

  • Boardmix: Device that plays different games with you, when you are alone. The team started with 'Rock-Paper-Scissors' and continue with other games such as 'Tick, Tack, Toe'.

  • PUSH-E: A cute robot assistant for your table. It pushes things around when you're too lazy to do it yourself.

3. Defence-related ideas

The defence industry is exciting. Firstly, it is important - and secondly, it’s much more interesting that you could ever imagine. Just look at those ideas!

  • Hitafly: An electronic handgun coach
    Hitafly is a training device and mobile app that displays shooting errors in real-time. Using this device you could even hit a fly! Additionally, Hitafly keeps a shooting diary, so you know how much you've practiced and when to service your handgun.

  • False Radio Network: Military radio project
    A device that is able to replay recorded radio signals in a way that those signals sound and seem authentic military radio signals. That project aims to deceive enemy radio reconnaissance units.


Source: EstonianWorld


  • TSI (Thermal Signature Imitation): A device that creates on a battlefield a false target to the enemy observers. For that purpose, our device will resemble the figure and heat signature of a human being.

  • Wulfcount bullet counter: A device that counts how many bullets there are left in your cartridge magazine and displays the number on a screen. Sounds super useful, doesn’t it?

  • No Drone Zone: Create a "smart sight" that mounts on a rifle and calculates the correct aiming point for your moving target.

  • False Radar: Imitation of the actual radar: false battlefield radar with the purpose to minimize own forces and equipment losses.

  • SID: A silent field. Communications system for short-range, inter-squad communications.

If you’re more into design and arts, check out the Hardware & Arts hackathon on 12-14th October in Riga.  Registering for the Defence Makeathon event is already closed, but if you wish to stay up to date with the latest innovation in the defence industry, then keep an eye on the updates coming from Defence Makeathon event.