Windows 10 IoT Core - Home Automation Contest

Win trips to Maker Faire and SparkFun gift certificates!

Total prize pool of $4,000+

Windows 10 IoT Core - Home Automation Contest
Windows 10 IoT Core - Home Automation Contest
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Full rules

Windows 10 loT Core Home Automation Challenge

Version 1.0 August 5, 2015

PLEASE NOTE: It is your sole responsibility to comply with your employer’s gift policies. If your participation violates your employer’s policies, you may be disqualified. Microsoft disclaims any and all liability and will not be party to any disputes or actions related to this matter.


GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES: Microsoft is committed to complying with government gift and ethics rules and therefore government employees are not eligible.



These are the Official Rules that govern how the Windows 10 loT Core Home Automation Challenge will operate (“Contest”). In these rules, "we," "our," and "us" “You” and “Yourself” refer to an eligible Contest entrant.



Brought to you by Hackster, a skill-based Contest, sponsored by Microsoft. The object of this contest is to create an innovative and original IoT application that speaks to the topic of home automation. For purposes of this Contest, each solution idea you create and submit in the Contest will be called an “entry”. All eligible entries received will be judged using the criteria described below to determine the winners of the prizes described below. All entries will be bucketed according to the following geographic categories:

  1. 50 United States and District of Columbia
  2. European Countries: 56 European Nations
  3. All other countries minus #1 and #2 above

 Prizes will vary based on geographic category and are further described below. 



This Contest starts at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time (PT) on August 10,2015 and ends at 11:59 p.m. PT on September 18, 2015 and will consist of the following rounds:


  • Round 1 Submission Period: August 10, 2015 – August 17, 2015
  • Judging and Winner Notification for Round 1: August 18 – August 20 ,2015. Between these dates, entries will be evaluated and 100 semi-finalists will be selected and notified no later than August 23, 2015.
  • Round 2 Semi-Finalist Submission Period: August 10, 2015– September 18, 2015
  • Winners will be announced on September 20th


*All semi-finalists will receive a Raspberry Pi 2 Model B kit not later than September 3, 2015, which is required to be utilized in final entry creation.

Only Round 1 entries received by August 17, 2015 will qualify to be further evaluated for advancement in this contest.



You are eligible to enter if you meet the following requirements at time of entry:

  • You are at least 16 years of age and are a hobbyist or professional in the field of technology development; and
    • If you are considered a minor in your place of residence, then you should ask your parent’s or legal guardian’s permission prior to submitting an entry into this Challenges.
  • You are NOT a resident of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria; and
    • S. export regulations prohibit the export of goods and services to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria. Therefore residents of these countries/regions are not eligible to participate.
  • You are not an employee or intern of Microsoft Corporation or Hackster Inc., or an employee of a Microsoft Corporation or Hackster subsidiary, at any time during the course of the Challenge; and
  • You are not involved the execution or administration of this Challenges; and
  • You are not an immediate family member of (parent, sibling, spouse/domestic partner, child) or household member of a Microsoft Corporation or Hackster employee, an employee of a Microsoft Corporation or Hackster subsidiary, or a person involved in any part of the administration and execution of the Contest’s lifecycle.



Round 1:

  1. If you are not already a member, you will need to create a free account.
  2. Download the Windows 10 loT Core
  3. Submit an idea for a home automation solution in the form in the Challenge Brief above
  4. Use Microsoft Azure for bonus points
  5. One submission per person
  6. No teams allowed

Round 2: If you are selected to advance to Round 2, you must do all of the following:

  1. Once you have received your Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, install Windows 10 IoT Core and start working on your home automation project
  2. Document your home automation project at the “projects” tab on this page. To add a new project, use the + symbol at the top right side of the screen and follow the submission template. 
  3. Share your source code via Github or Bitbucket
  4. Share your electronics schematics
  5. Share your bill of materials
  6. Share your CAD files if any
  7. Share your story and images

We are not responsible for entries that we do not receive for any reason, or for entries that we receive but are not decipherable for any reason.

We will automatically disqualify:

  • Any incomplete or illegible entry; and
  • Any entries that we receive from you that are in excess of the entry limit described above.



 To be eligible for judging, an entry must meet the following content/technical requirements:

Round 1:

  • You must create a free account
  • Your original idea must be submitted using the Official Entry form located at All ideas must be submitted in the English language.
  • Your idea must have a connection to the theme of home automation.

Round 2:

  • If you are selected as a semi-finalist, your solution must be developed on Windows 10 loT Core, running on the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, which will be provided to you no later than September 3 2015.
  • Your final project must be fully documented on Hackster per the “project” template
  • Your final project must be submitted as within the projects template
  • Your final project must consist of the following materials:
    • Images
    • Story
    • Code
    • Schematics
    • BOM
    • CAD if any

In addition:

  • your entry must be your own original work; and
  • your entry cannot have been selected as a winner in any other contest; and
  • you must have obtained any and all consents, approvals or licenses required for you to submit your entry; and
  • your entry may not include any third party trademarks (logos, names) or copyrighted materials (music, images, video, recognizable people) unless you have obtained permission to use the materials. You may include Microsoft trademarks, logos, and designs, for which Microsoft grants you a limited license to use for the sole purposes of submitting an entry into this Contest.

Entries may NOT contain, as determined by us, in our sole and absolute discretion, any content that:

  • is sexually explicit, unnecessarily violent or derogatory of any ethnic, racial, gender, religious, professional or age group; profane or pornographic;
  • promotes alcohol, illegal drugs, tobacco, firearms/weapons (or the use of any of the foregoing) or a particular political agenda;
  • is obscene or offensive;
  • defames, misrepresents or contains disparaging remarks about other people or companies;
  • communicates messages or images inconsistent with the positive images and/or good will to which we wish to associate; and/or violates any law;

We reserve the right to reject any entry, in our sole and absolute discretion, that we determine does not meet the above criteria.

Important note about Copyright: Your entire entry must only include material (including hardware, source code – both open source and third party sourced, user interface, music, video or images) that you own or that you have permission from the copyright/trademark owner to use. Your team’s entry may not include copyrighted materials (such as source code, user interface, background music, images or video) unless you own or have permission to use the materials. Ownership is not defined as purchasing a CD at a music store for replay, playing a copyright recording on your guitar or repurposing an application’s user interface – your entry will be disqualified if copyrighted materials, including but not limited to these examples, are a part of your entry without appropriate licensing or permissions. If you do use permissible copyrighted materials, you must include the permissions information by citing the artist/creator and license information as per the respective Challenges Rules. Note that even material released under sites such as Creative Commons, common open source code licenses, and other similar licensing may need permission or acknowledgement as per the specific license. Note: your team’s entry will be disqualified if permissions information is not included as per the requirements in the specific Challenges Rules.



Other than what is set forth below, we are not claiming any ownership rights to your entry. However, by submitting your entry, you:

  • are granting us an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide right and license to: (i) use, review, assess, test and otherwise analyze your entry and all its content in connection with this Contest; and (ii) feature your entry and all content in connection with the marketing, sale, or promotion of this Contest (including but not limited to internal and external sales meetings, conference presentations, tradeshows, and screen shots of the Contest entry in press releases) in all media (now known or later developed);
  • agree to sign any necessary documentation that may be required for us and our designees to make use of the rights you granted above;
  • understand and acknowledge that the Sponsor(s) may have developed or commissioned materials similar or identical to your submission and you waive any claims you may have resulting from any similarities to your entry;
  • understand that we cannot control the incoming information you will disclose to our representatives in the course of entering, or what our representatives will remember about your entry. You also understand that we will not restrict work assignments of representatives who have had access to your entry. By entering this Contest, you agree that use of information in our representatives’ unaided memories in the development or deployment of our products or services does not create liability for us under this agreement or copyright or trade secret law;
  • understand that you will not receive any compensation or credit for use of your entry, other than what is described in these Official Rules

Please note that following the end of this Contest your entry may be posted on a website selected by us for viewing by visitors to that website. We are not responsible for any unauthorized use of your entry by visitors to this website. While we reserve these rights, we are not obligated to use your entry for any purpose, even if it has been selected as a winning entry.

If you do not want to grant us these rights to your entry, please do not enter this Contest.



Round 1: On or around the close of Round 1, a panel of judges will review all eligible entries and select one-hundred (100) semi-finalists based upon the judging criteria below. These semi-finalists will be eligible to have a Raspberry Pi 2 Model B (Approximate Retail Value (ARV) $100) shipped to them (to arrive no later than September 3 2015) to further create their entry for Round 2. Limit one (1) prize per person.

Round 1 Judging Criteria:

Judging criteria

Winners are selected based on the following criteria:

  • Project Documentation (60 points)
    • Story/Instruction – Show how you created your project, including images, screenshots, and/or video (20 points)
    • Schematics – Use software like or Fritzing, draw your circuit diagrams, and/or take detailed photographs (20 points)
    • Code – Include working code with helpful comments (20 points)
    • Great photographs, videos, and screenshots are worth a thousand words. Ask yourself: "If I was a beginner reading this project, would I understand how to recreate it?"
  • Creativity (20 points)
    • Your idea doesn't have to be original, but it should be creative (a fresh take on an old idea is often worth as much as a brand new idea).
  • Practicality (20 points)
    • Does it solve a real-world problem involving home automation?
  • Bonus: Use Microsoft Azure to build your project, land extra points (10 points)

Round 2: On or around the close of Round 2, a panel of judges will review all eligible entries and select winners as follows based upon the entries with the highest judging score: 

  1. One (1) United States Winner (50 U.S. + DC) will receive a trip to Maker Faire NYC happening at World Maker Faire – 6th Annual New York Hall of Science, Queens, September 26 & 27 Saturday and Sunday. Approximate Retail Value (ARV) $2000
  2. One (1) European Winner will receive a trip to Maker Faire Rome happening at Piazzala Aldo Moro 5, La Sabiernza University, 00185, 16-18 October 2015. Approximate Retail Value (ARV) $2000
  3. With the exception of the US and Europe, all remaining entries will be judged and the top three (3) entries will receive the following prizes:
    1. One (1) First Prize. A $2,000 Gift Certificate to SparkFun
    2. One (1) Second Prize. A $1,500 Gift Certificate to SparkFun
    3. One (1) Third Prize. A $1,000 Gift Certificate to SparkFun

For the trips to Maker Faire, each travel prize will include:

  • Round trip flight, taxes and fees
  • Hotel for two nights, taxes and fees
  • Not to exceed $2000
  • Actual value of travel prize depends on date/time/destination, and difference between actual value and stated value will not be awarded in cash. Any expenses not explicitly listed herein, are the sole responsibility of the entrant.
  • You are responsible for acquiring and providing all required travel documents, including, but not limited to any required Visa, passport, etc., along with any associated expenses
  • If you live within 250 miles of the travel destination, we reserve the right to substitute alternate transportation for air travel.
  • Event dates and location are subject to change at our sole discretion. Therefore, you must have flexible travel capabilities.
  • Travel is subject to availability and must be completed on dates specified by sponsor or the prize will be forfeited and awarded to the next highest scoring Team/entrant. Some restrictions may apply. No cancellation of reservation or transfer of reservation to another date after reservation has been made.

Limit one (1) prize per person.


Round 2 Judging Criteria:

Project Documentation (60 Points)

  • Story/Instruction – Show how you created your project, including images, screenshots, and/or video (20 Points)
  • Schematics – Use software like or Fritzing, draw your circuit diagrams, and/or take detailed photographs (20 Points)
  • Code – Include working code with helpful comments (20 Points)

In the event of a tie between any eligible entries, an additional judge will break the tie based on the judging criteria described above. The decisions of the judges are final and binding. If we do not receive a sufficient number of entries meeting the entry requirements, we may, at our discretion, select fewer winners than the number of Contest Prizes described below.

If you are a potential winner, we will notify you by sending a message to the e-mail address, the phone number, or mailing address (if any) provided at time of entry within seven (7) days following completion of judging. If the notification that we send is returned as undeliverable, or you are otherwise unreachable for any reason, we may award to a runner-up. 

If there is a dispute as to who is the potential winner, we will consider the potential winner to be the authorized account holder of the e-mail address used to enter the Contest. If you are a potential winner, we may require you to sign an Affidavit of Eligibility, Liability/Publicity Release and a W-9 tax form or W-8 BEN tax form within 10 days of notification. If you complete a tax form, you will be issued an IRS Form 1099 the following January, for the actual value of the prize. You are advised to seek independent counsel regarding the tax implications of accepting a prize. If you are a potential winner and you are 18 or older, but are considered a minor in your place of legal residence, we may require your parent or legal guardian to sign all required forms on your behalf. If you do not complete the required forms as instructed and/or return the required forms within the time period listed on the winner notification message, we may disqualify you and select a runner-up.

If you are confirmed as a winner of this Contest:

You may not exchange your prize for cash or any other merchandise or services. However, if for any reason an advertised prize is unavailable, we reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value; and


  • You may not designate someone else as the winner. If you are unable or unwilling to accept your prize, we may award it to a runner up; and 
  • If you accept a prize, you will be solely responsible for all applicable federal, state, and local taxes related to accepting the prize; and
  • If you are otherwise eligible for this Contest, but are considered a minor in your place of residence, we may award the prize to your parent/legal guardian on your behalf; and
  • Unless otherwise noted, all prizes are subject to their manufacturer’s warranty and / or terms and conditions.



By entering this Contest you agree:

  • To abide by these Official Rules; and
  • To release and hold harmless Microsoft and its respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, employees and agents from any and all liability or any injury, loss or damage of any kind arising from or in connection with this Contest, or any prize won; and
  • That Microsoft’s decisions will be final and binding on all matters related to this Contest; and
  • That, by accepting a prize, Microsoft may use of your proper name and state of residence online and in print, or in any other media, in connection with this Contest, without payment or compensation to you, except where prohibited by law.



This Contest will be governed by the laws of the State of Washington, and you consent to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the courts of the State of Washington for any disputes arising out of this Contest.  



If someone cheats, or a virus, bug, bot, catastrophic event, or any other unforeseen or unexpected event that cannot be reasonably anticipated or controlled, (also referred to as force majeure) affects the fairness and / or integrity of this Contest, we reserve the right to cancel, change or suspend this Contest. This right is reserved whether the event is due to human or technical error. If a solution cannot be found to restore the integrity of the Contest, we reserve the right to select winners from among all eligible entries received before we had to cancel, change or suspend the Contest.

If you attempt or we have strong reason to believe that you have compromised the integrity or the legitimate operation of this Contest by cheating, hacking, creating a bot or other automated program, or by committing fraud in ANY way, we may seek damages from you to the fullest extent permitted by law. Further, we may disqualify you, and ban you from participating in any of our future Contests, so please play fairly.



A full list of winners will be published on this page by September 20, 2015.

This list will remain available until October 18, 2015.


* Maker Media and SparkFun are not affiliated with this contest 



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