HackPSU is Penn State's largest student-run hackathon. Join us and over 900 students from across the nation for 48 hours of creation, innovation, & fun. From seasoned coding veterans to first-time hackers from any major or field, all are welcome to join. Gain new technical skills by attending workshops and participating in challenges. Discover your ability to create change by developing technology to solve real-world problems, working with industry leaders, and collaborating with your peers. Of course, we also offer prizes and entertainment!


To participate in HackPSU and to be eligible for prizes:

  • You must be at least 18 years or older or be a student at Pennsylvania State University.  Aditionally, you must be a current or incoming student at a college or university, or have graduated from a college/university within the past year.
  • You must have registered and accepted the MLH Code of Conduct at hackpsu.org
  • Teams can consist of up to 5 participants. All projects must be built at HackPSU by registered participants.
  • Projects must also be in compliance with our Cheating Policy (see Rules).


Please include a video no longer than two (2) minutes describing your project with your submission.

Projects must be submitted by 4:00pm ET Sunday March 21st, but you will have until 5pm ET to make last minute modifications. 

Hackathon Sponsors


$2,346 in prizes

HackPSU 1st Place

$500, Amazon Gift Cards split amongst team members equally. ($100 each for team of 5)

HackPSU 2nd Place

$400, Amazon Gift Cards split amongst team members equally. ($80 each for team of 5)

HackPSU 3rd Place

$300, Amazon Gift Cards split amongst team members equally. ($60 each for team of 5)

HackPSU Audience Favorite

The project with the most likes in the Devpost Project Gallery wins this prize! $100, Amazon Gift Cards split amongst team members equally. ($20 each for team of 5)


Use technology to address issues related to COVID-19. $100, Amazon Gift Cards split amongst team members equally. ($20 each for team of 5)

HackPSU Health and Wellness

Use technology to address issues related to mental and/or physical health and wellness. $100, Amazon Gift Cards split amongst team members equally. ($20 each for team of 5)

HackPSU Virtual Collaboration

Use technology to address issues related to virtual collaboration. $100, Amazon Gift Cards split amongst team members equally. ($20 each for team of 5)

MLH | Best Domain Registered with Domain.com

Register a .tech, .space, or .online domain name using Domain.com during the weekend. Each team may submit one entry per person on the team. Each winning team member will receive a PowerSquare Qi Wireless Phone Charger & Domain.com Backpack.

MLH | Best use of Google Cloud

Build your hackathon project with a suite of secure storage, powerful compute, and integrated data analytics products provided by Google Cloud. See full list of products here: g.co/cloud. Each winning team member located in the US will receive a Google Cloud Swag Bag complete with a beanie, pillow, journal, socks and lanyards. International winners will receive a Google branded Parkland backpack.

MLH | Best Hardware Hack Sponsored by Digi-Key

Using your preferred hardware or hardware emulator, build a hack for your chance to win a Grove Beginner Kit, with an embedded Arduino compatible board. 1 prize for each winning team member with 2 winning teams per event!

Nittany Ai Alliance | Ai for Good (4)

Ai for Good Challenge: Use the power of artificial intelligence to make your impact in the fields of Health, Humanitarianism, Education, or Environment.

1st Place
$99 Amazon gift card & a Nittany Ai Alliance quarter-zip for each team member*

2nd Place
$50 Amazon gift card & a Nittany Ai Alliance Tech Case for each team member*

3rd Place
$25 Amazon gift card & a Nittany Ai Alliance Tech Case for each team member*

*Up to 5 team members

echoAR | Build the best AR/VR application using the echoAR platform!

CHALLENGE: Build the best AR/VR application using the echoAR platform!

FREE RESOURCE: For FREE access to all Business Plan features, register to the platform here: https://console.echoar.xyz/#/auth/register-hackathon?code=HackPSU2021

PRIZES: By creating a project with echoAR you will enter to win:

1. A $50 Amazon gift card (per team);
2. 3-month free Business Tier access (per team member); and
3. Selected projects will be featured on our “Inspiration” page

Participants MUST use the echoAR platform as part of their project to be eligible for a reward.

echoAR documentation: https://docs.echoar.xyz/
echoAR Slack support channel: https://go.echoar.xyz/join
echoAR Github repository: https://github.com/echoARxyz

Lion LaunchPad | Entrepreneurship Game Sponsored by the Farrell Center (2)

Contact info: Linda Feltman, Faculty Associate lcf8@psu.edu 814-880-9288

The Lion Launch Pad Living Learning Community Housing Option is challenging a HackPSU team to build out a game or activity that students can play to gauge their entrepreneurship knowledge. It should incorporate listing many of the Penn State resources that are available to student entrepreneurs on campus coupled with academic tracks and even snippets about the many challenges, competitions and events associated with the e-ship student culture at Penn State. We will provide a list of links to some of those resources but we anticipate that the successful team will complete their research as well. The activity or game should help inform students about the robust e-ship community at Penn State. Also, we would love to be given permission by the winning team to post this game as an active link on our LLP website where Accepted Students visit to learn more about LLP. Our goal is that once incoming freshmen see it, play it and learn from it, that they will not only decide to attend Penn State but check the box for the LLP Housing option. Assuming the successful team grants permission for this game to used on the LLP website, they will be credited with the design. Whichever team creates a game or activity that scores highest on these four criteria will be awarded the items listed below:
• Enjoyability (1-10) - How enjoyable or engaging is the game or activity?
• Uniqueness (1-10) - How unique is it in the use of graphics, mechanics, execution of theme?
• Educational Quality (1-10) - How well can it educate incoming students about entrepreneurship and innovation at Penn State?
• Integration on the LLP website feasible? (Yes or No) Not a deal breaker – but we would love to be able find a way to include the activity or game on the LLP website. At the very least, we will add it as an external URL. https://lionlaunchpad.psu.edu/students/llc/

The judges will review the submissions and decide which team best fulfills the four criteria. Judges also reserve the right to not select a team if none of the submissions fulfill the spirit of the criteria. The award includes two (2) Fjallraven* backpacks and the opportunity for up to four (4) team members to each select up to three (3) the following books:
• Lean Customer Development
• Disciplined Entrepreneurship Workbook:
• Sprint
• The Innovator's Dilemma
• The Mom Test
• Business Model Canvas
• The Lean Startup
• How to Earn Money as an Indie Game Developer

If winning team members are not able to pick up the award on campus, then arrangements can be made to ship the books selected to team members. * The backpacks cannot be shipped – so if team cannot pick up backpacks on campus, then they forfeit that part of the award. Further details regarding either picking up all items or shipping the teams book selections and/or the pick up of two backpacks and the books will be to the team the week of Monday 22,2021.

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:


HackPSU Team

HackPSU Team

Sahar Mor

Sahar Mor
AirPaper.ai Founder

Judging Criteria

  • Creativity & Originality
    Is the project novel, original and not-obvious? Does it approach a problem from an unusual or different perspective? How creative is the problem statement?
  • Technical Skills
    Is the project technically challenging? (Taking into account team size and measured relative to competition) Did the solution pose a challenge to the group? How intricate is the solution?
  • Implementation
    Is the project functional and easy to operate for the target demographic (user friendliness) or is it needlessly complex? Is the solution viable and effective in addressing the problem statement? Does it reflect the quality of the outcome?
  • Clarity
    Is the team able to convey their ideas in a way understandable to the audience? Are the topics accessible to the audience?
  • Knowledge & Growth
    Did the team learn something new? Does the team demonstrate knowledge of the subject matter? How effectively does the team demonstrate the capabilities of their solution?

Questions? Email the hackathon manager

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