MAKECU is an annual hardware hackathon organized by Columbia University's chapter of IEEE. MAKECU 2017 will take place over the weekend of February 25 - February 26 over the course of 24 hours. Participants will have a large selection of hardware and tools to create their hardware hacks. They will also be able to participate in workshops where professors, select sponsors, and peers will teach hackers how to effectively use the hardware and software provided to them.

We expect many of the projects to use a micro-controller base or repurpose existing hardware for unique applications. However, hackers will be encouraged to let their imaginations run wild. We will provide teams of three to four participants with hardware kits and peripherals, and participants are encouraged to request specialized hardware early on. Teams will also have access to a standard circuits laboratory bench, complete with test equipment such as power supplies and oscilloscopes. At the conclusion of the hackathon, teams will demo their projects to other attendees and judges. Finally, a panel of judges will evaluate and score the presented projects.

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Hackathon Sponsors


$380 in prizes

Parrot MiniDrone Rolling Spider

Two Parrot MiniDrone Rolling Spiders will be awarded to the team with the best overall hack.

Arduino Starter Kit

Two Arduino Starter Kits will be awarded to the team with the 2nd best overall hack. Parts and instructions included for 15 projects involving a DC motor, servo motor, tilt sensor, LEDs and other basic electronic components

Elegoo 37-in-1 Sensor Module Kit

Two Elegoo 37-in-1 Sensor Module Kits will be awarded to the team with the most entertaining hack. Kits include a complete set of Arduino's most common and useful electronic components, with 37 sensor modules.

Smraza Starter Kit

Two Smraza Starter Kits will be awarded to the team with the 3rd best overall hack. Kits include acrylic board holder and breadboard with commonly used items: 35 x Jump Wire Cables + 1 x USB Cable+2x LED(Red Green Yellow Blue) +10xResistor (330R)+10x Resistor (10K).

SunFounder Project Super Starter Kit

Two SunFounder Project Super Starter Kits will be awarded to the team with the best beginner hack. Kits include useful components, instructions, and tools for 19 projects.

MicrochipDirect Credit (3)

MicrochipDirect credit will be awarded to the three teams with the best hacks on Microchip products (most micro-controllers we'll have at hardware checkout).

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:


Eligible participants for MAKECU 2017 are undergraduate students of Columbia University.

How to enter

Registration for MAKECU 2017 has closed. Keep an eye on and our facebook page for details about next year's event. 


Ioannis (John) Kymissis

Ioannis (John) Kymissis
Associate Professor, Columbia University Department of Electrical Engineering

Stephen A Edwards

Stephen A Edwards
Associate Professor, Columbia University Department of Computer Science

Serena Shah-Simpson

Serena Shah-Simpson
Systems Engineer at DMC Engineering

Judging Criteria

  • Social Media Hack
    This prize is for the group who engaged the most with MAKECU the most through our social media channels: Twitter and Facebook. We considered tweeting at us, hashtag usage, and picture uploads! This award was decided by the MAKECU committee.
  • Best Beginner Hack
    Judged on the same criteria as the “overall” category. Hackers self-identified if they were beginners at registration and we flagged teams that had majority beginners.
  • Most Technically Challenging
    This was meant to award the team that completed something that the judges considered to be most technically complex. Project includes variety and depth of skills into their project, including analog and digital hardware skills as well as programming.
  • Most Entertaining
    Essentially, this category should be judged on how much the hack made you smile. Should have some element of fun or whimsy that grabs the user and engages them.
  • Overall
    Projects demonstrate maturity of idea and sophistication of implementation. How successfully does the team “hack together” a solution to an interesting problem or challenge? Consider usability, design, and technical aptitude.

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