Food Device Design Derby Challenge!

Hey everyone! We are doing a new contest! The first one since 2019!

This time we have the MacroFab Food Device Design Derby Challenge, sponsored by Mouser Electronics. The contest is all about creating electronic projects and devices that are food related– we want to see some amazing culinary contraptions and for you to document it all. Include lessons learned during experimentation, design challenges, and more. How you design, power it, and program (or not) it is entirely up to you.

You can do this in several different ways, here are some examples:

  • Cooking Automation
  • BBQ Controller
  • Automatic Hydroponics for Herb Garden

Entrees will be encouraged to come onto the podcast for a short 10-15 minute segment to explain and pitch their project to Stephen and me.

We will also have guest judges to determine the fate of the contestants. Judges will be announced here as more information becomes available.

The Prizes!

  • Projects Picked by our Judges
    • First place: $2,000
    • Second place: $1,000
    • Third place: $500
  • Circuit-Break Podcast Favorite: Stephen and Parker pick their favorite project on the podcast.
    • $2,000 Cash Prize
  • Themed Trophies to all winners.
  • Up to $1200 in free prototyping From MacroFab to all winners.

How to Enter Your Food Device Project

  • Build an electronic project that is food related or adjacent.
  • Document it on our community site, Circuit-Break Discussion, under the Contest Discussion Category with the “Food-Device-2024” tag.
  • Upload the PCBA to our platform and fill out the Bill of Materials and Specifications.

Contest Rules

  • Contest runs 8 AM CST February 6th, 2024 through 8 AM CST March 31st, 2024.
  • Project must be documented and submitted through Circuit-Break Discussion and categorized under the Contest Discussion Category with the “Food-Device-2024” tag.
  • Source code, schematics, and board layouts for the project must be either posted in the thread or in a public repository such as GitHub.
  • People should be able to replicate the project with given documentation.
  • All entries will be judged by judges appointed by MacroFab, TBD
  • MacroFab, Mouser Electronics, and Judges or the family of any of the preceding are not eligible to take part in this contest. Everyone is still encouraged to build awesome stuff and show it off.
  • No age limit.

How The Judges Will Rate Contestants’ Projects

  • How interesting is the entry?
  • How well is the project documented? Are the description, details, instructions, components and build instructions filled out?
  • Does it work? Upload a video of your working entry.
  • Judges pick their top three (3) projects and rank them from:
    • Top project for each judge gets 3 points.
    • Second project for each judge gets 2 points.
    • Third project for each judge gets 1 point.
  • The projects are ranked by the number of points scored.
  • The MacroFab Engineering Podcast’s favorite will be chosen by hosts Parker and Stephen.

Make sure your project on Circuit-Break Discussion is in the correct category so we can find it when the contest ends! Stephen and I will be discussing entries in the contest while the contest is running so stay tuned to the Circuit-Break podcast. To keep up to date on the contest follow this thread!

Our old contests can be found below:

Working on the Trophy’s design.

PCB with RGB leds on the back.

Trophy base. 3D printed.

Showing the insides of the base.


1 Like

Perhaps an idea for someone’s project… I have an air fryer like you guys recently talked about. My model is a low-budget one, since we initially weren’t sure how we would like / use such an appliance. As such, the user I/O is a bit lame. There are no dials or keypad to enter temperature or frying time. Instead, just a handful of capacitive touch pads — changes are made with up and down arrow keys. Very clunky.

I’ve been tempted to hack the panel, if I could figure out how to trick the capacitive touch detection circuitry. Adding an external keypad or one of those small knob + keyboard macro key units would make the fryer much more convenient to use. And since the thing was so cheap to begin with, no big risk if it gets “fried” in the process of hacking it.

Looks like this

EDIT: BTW, we love it. My wife was the biggest skeptic and is now a bigger fan of it than me. I wasn’t aware some combo ovens offer this. That would be ideal, if it were done right.

Trophy prototype completed!

1 Like

I want to thank everyone that entered! Should have results be end of this week.

Results are in from our judges.

Third Place: Pizza Pouch

Second Place: JavAqua

First Place: BarBuddy

Wrap Up?

Thanks everyone that entered and participated in our Food Device Design Derby! We will have a wrap up of all the projects and an announcement of the winner of the Circuit-Break Podcast Favorite on episode 427 of the podcast (Release date April 19th).


Excited for a cool looking trophy! Kudos to the organizing team!