SD Hacks is an intercollegiate hackathon where top developers from all over California come together to create innovative solutions in 36 hours. This year, we are expanding the experience by hosting a dedicated maker space and a virtual reality lab, in addition to the many cloud APIs, prizes, and swag offered by our incredible sponsors.


Hackathon Sponsors


$32,320 in prizes

Best of Show

Prize: Monitors + Personalized Sweatshirts
Awarded to the overall best hack. Judging is based on complexity, functionality, innovation, as well as design.

Most Technically Impressive

Prize: Mechanical Keyboards + Personalized Sweatshirts
Awarded to the most technically impressive hack.

Best Design

Prize: Wacom Tablets + Personalized Sweatshirts
Awarded to the hack with the best overall sense of design.

Best Beginner Hack

Awarded to the best hack from a first time hacker team. Each member will receive an Arduino kit as a prize.

Best Hardware Hack

Awarded to the most technically impressive and creative use of hardware/3d printing in a hack.

Best Use of VR/AR

Awarded to the hack that utilizes Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality in the most innovative way. Winning team will receive an HTC Vive and 3 Gigabyte Radeon RX 470 GPU's.

Most Entrepreneurially Promising Hack presented by Perkins Coie

Prize: $10K in free legal services regarding the formation a new tech company
Awarded to the hack with the most enterpreneurial promise, decided by members of Perkins Coie.

Hack that Best Connects Us presented by ViaSat (3)

ViaSat’s mission is to connect the world; our company-sponsored prize will be for those projects we think are best in line with our mission.
1st place - $600
2nd place - $500
3rd place - $400

SPAWAR Virtual Reality Challenges (3)

Create a VR experience that helps people complete regular tasks more efficiently through VR. Create a VR experience that teaches a specific skill, such as assembling a jet engine.
Create a VR experience that uses 3D space to visualize data in an interesting way. Winners receive the opportunity to interview with SPAWAR.

Best Use of DragonBoard

Awarded to the most innovative and creative use of the Qualcomm DragonBoard, sponsored by Qualcomm. Winners will each receive a DragonBoard.

Twitch Moderation Challenge (3)

We’re looking for a bot that anyone can use to make chat more fun. We’ve seen games, we’ve seen song requests, we’ve seen loyalty points, but we haven’t seen anything that creates content. What kind of content would make chat more fun, and how could a bot find it and surface it?

1517 fund Grant (4)

1517 is offering $1K grants to unique projects that could turn into products post Hackathon. If you love what you're making and think others will too this is the grant for you! 1517 also offers mentorship and other resources to grantees.

Most Commercializable Hack presented by the UCSD Office of Innovation and Commercialization

Awarded to the finalist team with the most marketable product.

Best Use of Arduino Hardware by General Atomics

$1000 in cash to be split among the team, sponsored by General Atomics, awarded to the team with the most innovative use of Arduino hardware.

Best Internet of Things Hack presented by Qualcomm Institute

Awarded to the most innovative hack that utilizes the Internet of Things, sponsored by the Qualcomm Institute. Each team member will receive an Amazon Echo.

Best Use of DocuSign API

DJI drone and two Amazon Echos, awarded for the best use of the DocuSign API

Best Use of SparkPost API

$500 in Amazon or Visa gift cards awarded to the team with the best use of the SparkPost API

Watch Dogs® 2 Best Device Privacy Hack

Everything is part of the internet of things now - from your phone to your fitness band to your thermostat. Build a hack that utilizes private data being collected from your devices, and show how you can turn potential vulnerabilities into something constructive. Winners receive Collector's Edition copies of Watch Dogs 2.

Best Use of AWS

1TB Hard Drives


Build a software solution that can help reduce the frequency and/or severity of online harassment. Each member receives a HackHarassment Swag Bag.

Best Domain Name from Swag Bags

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:


Nick Quinlan

Nick Quinlan

Ryan Hill

Ryan Hill
SD Hacks

Danielle Strachman

Danielle Strachman

Judging Criteria

  • Complexity
    How difficult was it to produce the hack?
  • Functionality
    Does the hack serve a useful purpose? Will the hack be useful for its target audience?
  • Innovation
    Does the hack bring a fresh new idea to the hacking community? Is the hack unique and groundbreaking?
  • Design
    Is the hack intuitive to use and does it function well?
  • Awesomeness
    Does this hack just make you say "Wow!"?

Questions? Email the hackathon manager

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