COVID-19 Detect & Protect Challenge

By the UNDP centre for Technology, Innovation and Sustainable Development

With Adafruit, Amazon Web Services, Arduino, Arm, Avnet, balena, DFRobot, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Nordic Semiconductor, NVIDIA, NXP, Seeed, Silicon Labs, SORACOM, The Things Network, Ubidots, UNDP and UNICEF

Win up to $25,000 in prizes!

COVID-19 is an unprecedented global health and humanitarian emergency. It threatens to create devastating social, economic, and political crises that could leave deep scars for years to come. This impact could reverse the progress made in tackling global poverty over the past 20 years, putting at risk the lives and livelihoods of billions of people.

In addition to the many lives at stake, developing countries could lose at least US$220 billion in income. COVID-19 could have an enormous and tragic longer-term impact, with the potential for mass unemployment, the further weakening of already-fragile health systems; and the risk of increasing inequality, marginalization, and poverty. In some of the world’s most vulnerable areas, the impact of COVID-19 could be catastrophic.

This extraordinary global situation demands a global response. As an answer, the United Nations Development Programme and are joining forces with the world’s brightest technology companies. We are calling on hardware and software developers, product designers, scientists, hackers, makers, and innovators to come together to work for those who will be hardest hit by this pandemic.

The Challenge


As COVID-19 has shown, challenge and crisis cross borders – impacting everywhere on Earth. However, innovation and ingenuity are not constrained by geography. The COVID-19 Detect and Protect Challenge is an opportunity to find and apply the best and brightest of humanity, wherever it may be found.

A panel of judges will review and select the top 10 open source solutions on a rolling basis through 2020. Winners will receive global recognition and a variety of awards for their contribution to society and humankind. Using the UNDP’s vast global network and resources from all supporting partners, we’ll work with the winning creators on the best way to transfer the knowledge to those who need it most.

This challenge has three priority actions:
  1. Design replicable, low-cost tools to aid in coronavirus detection
  2. Reduce the disease’s impact on economies of these vulnerable areas
  3. Flatten the curve in communities with preventive solutions


Harness your skills to aid citizens and healthcare providers with everyday tools that support the diagnosis of the coronavirus and future outbreaks. Computer vision thermometers, smart oximeters, cloud-based heatmaps and apps, data science-backed insight, open-source hardware, or advanced computational models — all are welcome.




Imagine and invent apparatuses that help slow down the spread of the disease. 3D-printable protective equipment, easy-to-assemble hand sanitizing dispensers, public alerts, mass broadcasting tools, contamination monitoring, rapid face mask production with advanced or everyday materials — there are no limits.




Our panel of judges will pick the best qualifying 10 projects on a rolling basis. Winners will be notified and posted in the discussion tab. Please review the judging criteria outlined in the rules section before submitting.

The Global UNDP Innovator Award
10 winners – $1,500 value
UNDP recognition badge and certificate, NXP HoverGames drone and telemetry radio, and $1,000 Visa gift card

The Hackster Impact Detect Award
10 winners – $500 value
A Hackster Impact recognition badge, an NVIDIA Jetson Kit, a Soracom Global SIM card with $50 in credits, and a $100 Visa gift card.

The Hackster Impact Protect Award
10 winners – $500 value
A Hackster Impact recognition badge, Coral Dev Board from Google, a Soracom Global SIM card with $50 in credits, and a $100 Visa gift card.


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

  • You are at least 13 years of age
  • If you are 12 years or younger, you must receive a legal guardian’s permission and have them complete Hackster’s contest permission form prior to submitting an entry into this contest. Send any questions to
  • You are not involved in the execution or administration of this contest.
  • You are not an immediate family member or household member of a Hackster employee.

Submission requirements

To be eligible for judging, you must meet ALL of the following requirements unless otherwise stated:

General Requirements
  • You must be registered as a participant for this contest.
  • Your entry must be your own original work. Learn more about copyright and open-source guidelines.
  • Your entry cannot have been selected as a winner in any other Hackster contest.
  • Your team can be of any size.
  • Your project must be a/an easy-to-replicate, low-cost open-source solution to detect or protect Covid-19 in developing countries.

*By entering a submission to this contest on behalf of a team, you acknowledge that you are the designated representative authorized to act on behalf of your team. (See full rules below for details)

Project Documentation Requirements
  • Your project must include a project name, project description, cover image, bill of materials (BOM), full instructions, images, and relevant resource files (schematics, code, CAD).
  • Your project must be written in English.
  • Your project must be submitted by Jul 15, 2020 at 11:59 AM PT.

Judging criteria

Viability/ Deployability (30 points)
Consider the cost, scalability of your project. Does the solution translate to real-world benefits, particularly in developing country contexts? Think, can this solution be deployed and manufactured to the most at-risk regions? Will your solution require resources on the ground in deployed areas (3D printers, cellular networks)? Is it easy to use? The closer you can get your project to an all-inclusive, turnkey solution, the better.

Does it help reduce the overall impact on communities? Our panel of expert judges with backgrounds in technology transfer, medicine, manufacturing, international development, and innovation will consider the benefits of your solution to at-risk and developing regions.

Project Story/Instructions (30 points)
Show how you created your project, including images, screenshots, and/or a video demonstration of your solution working as intended. Ask yourself: “Could someone in the field understand how to replicate your project from reading your instructions?”. The ability to recreate, manufacture, and ship your design is crucial to helping the affected regions.

Documentation (20 points)
Include working code, CAD files, design files, schematics and/or additional documentation.

Creativity (10 points)
Your idea doesn’t have to be original, but it should be creative (a fresh take on an old idea is often worth as much as a brand new idea).

Open Source Assessment (10 points)
Is your project fully open source? Because we want these solutions to be easily and quickly reproduced en masse, your solution must not include proprietary software or hardware that is difficult or expensive to obtain and/or use. Do you anticipate data protection issues or data privacy complications? Imagine your solution being implemented in a region with little ability to regulate proprietary software and/or hardware.

How to enter

Step 1: Register for the Contest
– Start by creating a free account on (or sign-in if already a member).
– Register for the contest by clicking “Register as a participant” on the contest page.

Step 2: Build and Document Your Project
– Build your project according to the submission requirements.
– Document your project build using Hackster’s project template. To create a new project, click “create new project” on the contest page or the “+” symbol in the top right corner of your Hackster page.

Step 3: Review and submit your project
– Review your project and make sure it meets all the submission requirements.
– Upload a previously created project by clicking “add existing project” on the contest page.
– Submit your project by Jul 15, 2020 at 11:59 AM PT by clicking “review and submit project” on the contest page.


Contest begins: April 14, 2020 at 8:00AM PT

Submissions close: July 15, 2020 at 11:59AM PT

Winners announced by Jul 30, 2020


July 15, 2020
OrganizerUnited Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Website Visit website
Africa, Antarctica Region, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Europe, Fiji, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Kiribati, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Nicaragua, Northern America, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela
Artificial intelligence, Big data, Cloud solutions, Connectivity, EdTech, Healthcare, Healthcare providers and services, HealthTech, Hygiene, ICT, Mobile