SD Hacks has been one of the largest hackathons in California since its inception back in 2015. We take pride in being a fully student organized event, while partnering with numerous other student-run engineering organizations at UC San Diego.

SD Hacks 2021 will provide the support and mentorship necessary to develop innovative software projects. With mentorship coming from a variety of engineering disciplines and companies, SD Hacks 2021 is shaping up to become an unforgettable 36 hours of collaboration, empowerment, and innovation. This year, SD Hacks will be going completely virtual and bringing the hackathon to you.


To be an SD Hacks participant you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • University student: be an undergraduate or graduate student attending some university
  • Accepted: have been accepted through our application portal
  • Team size: form a team of 1-4 people

There are no nationality/citizenship-based requirements for hackers! Hackers from all around the world are welcome.


  • Submit your project to the Devpost by 10:00 AM PST on Sunday, February 21, 2021. No extensions will be given.
  • You may submit your project to as many sponsor challenges as you see fit but only one track.
  • You are required to record a pitch video for your project that is at least 2 min. long but no more than 3 min. long and provide a link to view it on a streaming site (Youtube, Youku, or Vimeo).
  • Submissions must contain all components needed to view your project in the form of a GitHub repository.
  • You are also advised, but not required, to submit a description of your project on DevPost.

Hackathon Sponsors


$40,630 in prizes

Best Overall Hack

A project that is outstanding not only in the quality of technical implementation but also in its potential for societal innovation! The grand prize winner of SD Hacks 2021.

Prize: 4x Nintendo Switch Lite + Any Nintendo Switch Game

Best Remote Education Hack

In this unprecedented time, families across the United States face challenges associated with the transition to remote learning, whether it be those facing connection inequity, individuals with special needs, or people experiencing homelessness.

Prize: 4x Airpod Pro Wireless Earbuds

Best Sustainability Hack

Our climate is changing and it takes a systematic effort to combat it. This track encourages hackers to develop solutions tackling the challenges of climate change or educating the public about the environmental challenges we face.

Prize: 4x Polaroid Now Instant Camera Starter Set, 4x Fjallraven Kanken backpack

Best Urban Innovation Hack

In a growing society, we require new solutions tackling societal, environmental, and economic issues. This track spans everything from small neighborhood improvements to ambitious endeavors in large cities. Potential solutions include reducing carbon emissions, tackling transportation inequity, infrastructure improvements, or affordable housing.

Prize: 4x Philips Hue White & Color Ambiance LED Smart Light Starter pack

Best Civic Engagement Hack

In a country blighted by many challenges like rising concerns of inequity, and immense social changes, there is a need for more voices to be heard. Hackers are encouraged to develop solutions to amplify the voices of everyday people.

Prize: 4x JBL Flip 4 Speakers, 4x New York Times Subscription Year-long, $98 to a charity of your choice

Best use of Google Cloud (2)

Use any Google Cloud product in your project (Firebase counts!)
Each member of the winning team receives one of the below.

1st place team:
- Patagonia Backpack
- Water Bottle

2nd place team:
- Reversible Google Pillow (Blue and White)
- Google Cloud beanie
- Google Cloud socks
- Google Cloud journal
- Google Cloud lanyards (5 count)

Best Domain Registered with

Register a .tech, .space, or .online domain name using 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 & Backpack.

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 Arduino Uno R3 included. We select two winning teams for this category. Each winning team member will receive a prize!

Best Use of CockroachDB

Build your hackathon project on CockroachDB's open source and indestructible SQL database. Utilize CockroachDB in your hack for a chance to win a 3D printing pen for each team member. What's more, ALL projects submitted that use CockroachDB will receive a free t-shirt!

KuzoClass: Market-Ready Startup Challenge

One team selected for having the most "market-ready startup" will receive a 12-week program taught by world-class experts to help them develop their hackathon project into a full-fledged startup. For more information, visit

echoAR Challenge

Use echoAR APIs in your project. Each member of the winning team receives one of the below:

1-month Free business tier access to the echoAR platform

As well as one of the following going to the whole team:

1 $50 Amazon Gift Card

Wolfram Alpha Prize (25)

4x 1 year subscription to Wolfram|One Personal Edition,
4x 1 year subscription to Wolfram|Alpha Pro

Tickets to Pinnacle 2021

Pinnacle is a 36-hour collegiate hackathon unlike any other — they're inviting the world's top 50 collegiate hackathons to compete in an epic finale event. Each of the hackathons sends 1 team to represent them at their event happening in Fall 2021. They will pay for 100% of the travel for all invited winners. If you win this weekend at SD Hacks, you'll be eligible for the Pinnacle prize. For more information, visit

SD Hacks Fellowship (UCSD Students Only) (5)

SD Hacks is where the best student hackers gather and work on innovative projects. Then, why are we letting these projects stay stale on GitHub repositories after the event?

This simple question drove us to create SD Hacks Fellowship. SD Hacks Fellowship is a 10-week accelerator program for those interested in continuing their SD Hacks projects as something bigger - either startups, non-profit organizations, or impactful side-projects. SD Hacks Fellowship is an infrastructure where the best "hacks" at SD Hacks will grow way beyond just hackathon projects. Join our community of growth-minded talented engineers and get support to build your big things.

To be eligible for this prize, please complete the external application at

Each winning team will be given:
- a $1000 equity-free grant
- AWS, Google Cloud, Stripe, and Notion credits
- A chance to pitch one-on-one with investors from companies like Northrop Grumman, Y Combinator, Google Cloud, and more!

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:


Siddharth Nag

Siddharth Nag
SD Hacks Director

Anurag Pamuru

Anurag Pamuru
SD Hacks Director

Judging Criteria

  • Originality/Creativity
    25% - How original and unique is the idea behind the project?
  • Technical Complexity
    25% - Is the project's backend technically complex with innovative use of software?
  • Adherence to Theme
    25% - Does the project line up with the tracks it was submitted to?
  • Practical Implementation
    25% - Is the implementation of the project user-friendly and actually functional?

Questions? Email the hackathon manager

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