DigitalC Impact Pitch

Environmental IoT Challenge for Social Innovators

Contest status



Impact Round Two Award

One grand prize Impact Award winner will be selected from the qualifying submissions of Round One. The award includes a cash award plus in-kind benefits and options.

$20,000 value

Pitch Round One Award
Roundone pitchawards

Three wireframe projects will qualify as Round One Winners. The winning project holders will qualify to move on to Round Two for the Grand Prize Impact Award. The award includes a $1,000 cash plus in-kind value of benefits.

$1,000 value - 3 available

Project Award
Istock 626305854

The first ten qualified projects submitted to this contest receive a $100 cash award. The Cleveland Water Alliance generously supports technical projects for the Impact Pitch by making this award possible.

$100 value - 10 available


Project submissions open:

February 9, 2017 at 11:00 PM PT

Project submissions close:

March 11, 2017 at 11:59 PM PT

Winners announced by:

June 1, 2017

Contest brief

Welcome to the Impact Pitch!

The Impact Pitch is a pitch competition for developers and makers that want to positively impact their local community. Learn more.

What we're looking for:

In this contest, we invite creative problem solvers such as yourself to drive impact on a real world problem in our local community.

Help us save Lake Erie:

Phosphorous and nitrogen are essential to any healthy environment, but when dramatically increased, such levels of nutrients pose a serious threat to the integrity of its ecosystems of any body of water and the communities that live along its shores. This is happening now at the Lake Erie Basin, right at our back yard.

The challenge is to leverage advanced technologies from low latency networks, ultra high speed networks, secure IoT networks, software defined networks, high definition video and imaging, autonomous drones, and new algorithms to address early detection, early response solutions, and predictive, real-time data analysis around harmful algal blooms. Learn more about global impact of harmful algal blooms here.

Develop practical wireframe solutions, such as devices, processes, hardware innovations or digital tools, that can enable 1) the measurement, control and/or capture of phosphorus and nitrogen compounds in watersheds, 2) the prevention of excessive agricultural runoff, and/or 3) the measurement, mitigation or elimination of the environmental impacts of HABs.

Your solution should be able to input data from local researchers addressing problems along the Lake Erie Basin.

Want to make a local difference?

Pitch us your ideas with detail and spec. Share your knowhow around geolocation monitoring and water quality alerts. Are you working on a drone-based high-definition video or image capture solution for automatic image comparisons between t-zero and t-alert? Are you developing a data mining tool and looking for a unique data-set to solve a local problem? What about a beach quality or fish hatchery app? We want to see if you can make a local impact in the blue economy!

Seeking local innovators:

The ideal teams and individual developers for this project would have skills in hardware and software development, as well as a strong proficiency in solution design and architecture. The first $100 qualified projects submitted to the contest will receive $100 cash award. DigitalC will commit up to $1,000 to three selected initial projects developed that include proof of concept by Mar 11, 2017. Additional awards will be available for the development of a full-scale model depending on the viability and feasibility of the proposed solution.

In partnership with:

Contest rules



Here’s how to participate in the contest:

1. Create a free Hackster account

2. Register to participate in the contest

3. Design, build, and document your project

4. Submit your project on this contest page

Judging criteria

Winners are selected based on the following criteria:

1) Project Documentation (60 points)

  • Story/Instructions - Show how you created your project, including images, screenshots, and/or video

  • BOM – Detail the hardware components as well as apps you used (10 points)

  • Schematics – Use software like, draw your circuit diagrams, detailed photographs (10 points)

  • Code – Include working code with helpful comments (20 points)

  • CAD - showcase your complete vision with beautiful CAD designs if relevant

  • Great photographs, videos, and screenshots are worth a thousand words. Ask yourself: "If I were a beginner reading this project, would I understand how to recreate it?"

Project must clearly address the contest theme

2) Creative Problem Solving (40 points)

Your idea doesn't have to be original, but it should be a creative (a fresh take on an old idea is often worth as much as a brand new idea).

Winners will be announced on this page on Jun 1, 2017.

Good luck! We can't wait to see what you build.

How to enter

Guidelines for submitting your project:

  • Build your project using related hardware and software
  • Document your project using the hackster project template
  • Describe your project with plenty of details: What are you creating? What does it do? Why does it matter?
  • Add your project to the contest by clicking on “Add my Project”
  • When your project is complete, submit it by clicking on “Submit to Contest”
  • Submit your project by Mar 11, 2017 at 11:59 PM PT.
  • Your Project Documentation should include:
  • Story and quality images;
  • Clear instructions;
  • BOM and schematics;
  • Source code;
  • CAD files if relevant
  • All projects should be relevant to the theme of the contest

Full rules

The Contest is organized, produced and hosted by Hackster (“us” and “we”) and sponsored by DigitalC and their sponsoring partners. The object of this Contest is to develop local, social innovation.

For purposes of this Contest, each solution and 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.


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.

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, if playing a copyrighted 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 Challenge 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 Challenge Rules.


Other than what is set forth below, we are not claiming any ownership rights to your entry. However, by submitting your entry, you: (A) grant 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); (B) agree to sign any necessary documentation that may be required for us and our designees to make use of the rights you granted above; (c) 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; and (D) 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, do not enter this Contest.

All entries will be judged and the top 3 entries will receive prizes:

  • Pitch Winner: Cash award plus in-kind pitch consulting services ($1000 value)

Limit one (1) prize per person or team. 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 release and hold harmless Hackster Inc., DigitalC and their sponsoring partners and each of their 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 Hackster Inc.’s decisions will be final and binding on all matters related to this Contest; and that, by accepting a prize, Hackster may use 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 California, 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 contest winners will be published on this page by Jun 1, 2017.

DigitalC logo are trademarks of DigitalC. All other product or service names are the property of their respective owners © 2017

What is the contest timeline?

Project submissions open:

Feb 9, 2017 at 11:00 PM PT

Project submissions close:

Mar 11, 2017 at 11:59 PM PT

Winners announced by:

Jun 1, 2017 at 11:59 PM PT

When will winners be announced? Where can I see the list?

Contest winners will be announced on Jun 1, 2017 . The list of winners will be visible on the main page (Contest brief).

Who is eligible to participate?

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

  • You are a hobbyist or professional in the field of technology development;
  • You are at least 18 years of age. If you are considered a minor in your place of residence, then you must ask your parent’s or legal guardian’s permission prior to submitting an entry into this challenge;

Couldn't find an answer to your question? Email us.

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