HackIllinois is a 36 hour event where college students from across the country create technical projects ranging from websites and mobile apps to Wi-Fi connected microwaves. You can work on creating a useful tool that you wish existed or learning a new skill or language — anything goes!


University students of all skill levels are eligible to compete. We’re looking for a diverse mix of technical students from any major to create exciting, eclectic hacks. If you are an interested high school student, please fill out the application; we will contact you if there are any troubles.


Teams’ demos will be judged on several criteria including usefulness, technical difficulty, polish, and creativity. More details about the judging process will be provided closer to the event. Teams will not be told their scores during or after judging, and decisions by the judges and HackIllinois team are final.

Hackathon Sponsors


$20,980 in prizes

HackIllinois Top Three Software Hacks (3)

The first place software team receives $1000, the second place team receives $750 and the third $500.

HackIllinois Top Three Hardware Hacks (3)

The first place hardware team receives $1000, the second place team receives $750 and the third $500.

Affirm's Best Reverse Engineering Hack

$500 in cash and Affirm backpacks

Answers' Best Use of the Gravity API (3)

$500 in cash

Apple's Best iOS or OS X App (3)

iPad mini 3 for each member of the team

Best Use of the Bloomberg API

Philips Hue bulbs

Best Use of the Capital One API (2)

$250 Amazon gift card per team member

Most Dropbox-y

Raspberry Pi Kits

Best Use of the Dwolla API (2)

1st place 20.00, 2nd place $ln(20.00), 3rd place $log100(20.00)

Factual's Best Use of Location Data in a Mobile Context

Medieval swords and cash prizes

GE's Best Use of Image Recognition (2)

SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker

GoDaddy's Best Small Business Application

$250 Best Buy Gift Cards

Best Use of the Goldman Sachs API

Bose Speakers

Google's Best Hack

Four Nexus Players and Game Pads

IBM's Best Hack using Bluemix

Arduino Starter Kit

Best Use of the IMO API and Twitter Contest (3)

API Prize: 1st place: Gaming Bundle: Turtle Beach Ear Force PX22 Headset, Razer DeathAdder Ergo PC Mouse, and Razer Vespula dual-sided mouse mat, 2nd place: Razer Bundle: Razer DeathAdder Ergo PC Mouse, and Razer Vespula dual-sided mouse mat, 3rd place: Turtle Beach Ear Force PX22 Headset

Twitter: 1st place: Anker 40W Intelligent USB Power Block, 2nd place: DKnight Magicbox Bluetooth Speaker, 3rd place: $20 in Starbucks and Subway Gift Cards

Interactive Intelligence's Most Innovative Integration of the ININ API

$500 Cash

Best Use of John Deere's API (4)

The first place team receives $800, second place receives $500, third receives $250 and fourth receives honorable mention!

KCG + 3Red Best Networked Game

Winners get a cash prize of $600 for the best networked game

Best Hack Using the Mailjet API

Four Fitbit Charges

Meru's Most Thought-Provoking and Innovative Hack Around SDN

The first place team wins a GoPro Hero HD camera and second place wins a $50 Visa gift card

Microsoft's Best Use of Azure

Dell Venue Tablets

Nuage Networks' Best SDN/Cloud Related Project

Two iPad Minis and $100 Amazon gift card

Palantir's Best Data Visualization

Sonos wireless speaker for each member of the team

Best Pebble Hack

Four Pebble Steel gift boxes

Best Spark Hack

Spark Maker Kits

Thalmic's Best Myo Hack

Four Myo armbands

Thiel Capital's Hack with Product/Business Potential (2)

$1000 cash prize to further your project

Trunk Club's Most Innovative Way to Connect to Someone

A Wearable Technologies kit which includes arduinos, raspberry pi and conductive fibers

Best Twilio Integration

Arduino Yuns

Best Use of Wolfram Technologies

$500 cash prize

Yelp's Best Local Focus

Four Leap Motion Controllers


Winners get a box of t-shirts!

Best Use of Strap and Best Pull Request

Best Use of Strap Prize: Chose one of these three packages
The Wearables package: includes a Pebble, Jawbone Up, Asus Zenwatch and Misfit Shine The IoT package: includes Estimotes, a Raspberry pi kit, Spark.io kit, and Tessel kit Amazon gift cards: 4 Amazon gift cards each worth $100

Best Pull Request Prize: Choice of an Oculus Rift, Apple Watch (an 'I owe you', obviously), Moto 360 or a Chrome Book

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:

How to enter

Each team is permitted one submission that must be received by 10:00am on Sunday, March 1st, 2015. Code submitted for judging must be produced only by team members and written during HackIllinois from the starting time on Friday, February 27th, 2015 to the submission time. If you are continuing a previous project or using old code written by you, let us know on the project submission form. Third party libraries are allowed without notice provided that they are publicly available to any participant. All code you create at HackIllinois is owned by you, and may be made open source at your discretion. By submitting a project, you and your team grant the HackIllinois team the unrestricted right to use your submission material, at no cost, for promotional purposes of future HackIllinois events.


HackIllinois Judges

HackIllinois Judges

Jay Freeman

Jay Freeman

Greg Baugues

Greg Baugues

Judging Criteria

  • Creativity
    How original is the idea? How creative of an approach do they take?
  • Technical Complexity
    How well do they use technologies together? How complex is it?
  • Utility
    How useful of a product is it? Is it something that you see people using in thier everyday lives?
  • Accessibility
    Is it simple and straightforward? Or is it bulky and hard to understand?
  • Awesomeness
    Is there a wow factor?
  • Polished
    For the final round, judges will be looking at all the previous criterion as well as how clean the product is - in terms of design, appearance, and sophistication?
  • Presentation
    For the final round, judges will be looking at all the previous criterion as well as how well the team presents the project?

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